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History of the 

Massachusetts Horticultural 


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in 2013 







History of the 












THE following history of the Massachusetts Horticul- 
tural Society was written with the intention of supplying 
to members and others interested as brief a review of 
the Society's hundred years as was consistent with reasonable 
thoroughness. In 1880, Robert Manning's history of the first 
half -century gave a complete and accurate account up to that 
time, and his method of treatment could have been continued, 
if only the events since then were to have been included; but 
inasmuch as a complete history seemed desirable, and an arrange- 
ment seemed possible by which the somewhat monotonous succes- 
sion of exhibitions, lectures and transactions might be made more 
readable, the present writer has himself examined the sources — 
almost entirely the Society's published Transactions and for early 
days the New England Farmer — and has attempted to bring the 
facts and events of the whole century into the proportions decreed 
by five or six hundred pages. The difficulty of accomplishing the 
latter task must be his excuse for many omissions; yet of these 
he has tried to leave enough evidence for those who may care to 
supply them from the Transactions : for example, while the finan- 
cial fortunes of the Society are at times interesting and necessary 
for an intelligent idea of its policies, a detailed account of them 
would itself fill a small volume — and a very unnecessary and 
uninteresting one. The same is of course true in a less degree of 
exhibitions, exhibits and everything else; but if certain omis- 
sions seem inconsistent, or some lack of emphasis not clear, it is 
usually because the fact or event involved had no significant 
connection with any other. If the opposite fault has been com- 
mitted, if there are not omissions enough, the writer can only 
plead that he has himself found the Transactions profoundly 

Only the perusal of those volumes representing, say, a decade 
can show how intimately every department of the Society in- 
fluenced every other, how events shaped policies, policies events, 


and above all how personalities guided and were guided by both. 
The " society " is even more interesting than the " horticulture." 
No apology need be made for the briefness with which the stronger 
or more prominent men of the past have been described: many 
of them have been the subjects of special biography, and most 
of those who have not can speak now only through our Society's 
records. It is perhaps worth while noting that in the case of some 
of the former our Transactions could have supplied more material 
than the authors appear to have been aware of. But we may say 
confidently that it is something more than ability and influence 
that has passed the torch on through a hundred years, something 
not peculiar to our distinguished men. It was in the Dearborns, 
the Lowells, the Wilders, the Sargents, the Dawsons; but it was 
also in a host whose names alone remain, and it is in the living. 
It is deeper than democracy; for whether we call it as our good 
fathers did the love of horticulture, or the cause or the effect of 
the love of horticulture, it is essentially of the stuff upon which 
democracy was founded. 

It is a pleasant duty for the writer to thank those upon whom 
he has constantly called for help, Mr. N. T. Kidder, Miss D. St. 
J. Manks, Mr. E. I. Farrington and Miss B. E. Tucker. For- 
tunately no present member of the Massachusetts Horticultural 
Society needs any description of their helpfulness or their invari- 
able kindness. To Miss Manks and Mr. Farrington especially 
are due most hearty thanks, and to the reader the assurance that 
no error of fact, figure or judgment in the book can be traced 
to the hospitable rooms on the upper floor of Horticultural Hall. 

A. E. B. 

August 4, 1929 



Preface v 

I The Field i 

II The Foundations 25 

III 1830. Mt. Auburn 35 

IV 1831-1833. Joy's Building . 43 

V 1 834-1 844. On Cornhill 50 

VI 1844-1845. The First Horticultural Hall ... 78 

VII 1 846-1 860. Development 88 

VIII 1 861-1865. In War Time. The Second Horticultural 

Hall 129 

IX 1866-1870. Progress 151 

X 1 871-1874. President Strong's Administration . . 165 

XI 1 87 5-1 879. The Semi-Centennial . . . . . . 183 

XII 1880-1884. F. B. Hayes's Administration . . . . 214 

XIII 1885-1886. Marshall P. Wilder ...... 248 

XIV 1887-1892. Expansion 266 

XV 1893-1895. N. T. Kidder's Administration . . . 309 

XVI 1896-1900. F. H. Appleton's Administration . . . 330 

XVII 1901-1903. The Third Horticultural Hall . . . 365 

XVIII 1904-1906. Adjustment 391 

XIX 1907-1909. Adjustments 413 

XX 1910-19x2. The George Robert White Medal . . 434 

XXI 1913-1914. Expansion 448 

XXII 1915-1918. In War Time 458 

XXIII 1919-1920. Readjustment 475 

XXIV 1921-1929. A. C. Burrage's Administration . . . 484 
XXV The Centennial Exhibition 514 

Officers of the Society 521 

Index 529 




The Present Horticultural Hall as it Appeared in 1901 . Frontispiece 

Henry A. S. Dearborn. First President of the Society .... 30 

First Membership Certificate 36 

The First Horticultural Hall, School Street 80 

Samuel Walker 96 

Exhibition in the Tent on Boston Common, 1852 104 

Charles M. Hovey 136 

The Second Horticultural Hall, Tremont Street 146 

An Exhibition in the Tremont Street Hall, 1869 160 

William C. Strong 166 

Francis Parkman 182 

Francis B. Hayes 246 

Marshall P. Wilder 260 

The First Chrysanthemum Exhibition in the Present Horticultural 

Hall, 1901 368 

H. Hollis Hunnewell 382 

Mrs. Henrietta L. T. Wolcott 390 

The Present Library 412 

Charles S. Sargent 436 

An Exhibition in the Present Horticultural Hall, 19 12 . . . 444 

Jackson Dawson 466 

Albert C. Burrage 484 

The Dawson, Appleton, and Roland Medals 496 

Membership Ticket of 1848 496 

Medal of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society .... 506 

Special Centennial Medal used only in 1929 506 

The George Robert White Medal of Honor 506 

A Section of the Centennial Exhibition, Mechanics Building, 1929 516 


History of the 



Chapter I ■ THE FIELD 

THE History of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society," 
said President Hovey in 1865, " is the history of horti- 
culture in this country." Without taking the energetic 
President's statement too literally, we yet may believe with him 
and Robert Manning, 1 the scholarly Secretary and Historian, that 
some description of the conditions which surrounded the Society 
in 1829 is indispensable for a proper appreciation of the immense 
work it has done. With great discrimination and thoroughness 
Manning collected for the introduction to his History of the So- 
ciety, published in 1880, a number of quotations from colonial 
histories, chronicles, reports, letters and traditions, out of which, 
joined together by his own learned comment, he constructed a 
mosaic picture of our original field so authoritative, adequate and 
interesting that any further research is superfluous; and from this 
and the personal reminiscences of Marshall P. Wilder, who wrote 
on horticulture for the " Memorial History of Boston," 2 the fol- 
lowing introductory sketch is principally drawn. The investigator 
must look to Manning 3 and his copious references. The only liber- 
ties we have ventured to take are in the nature of condensation 
and rearrangement imperative to our needs, and the omission or 
addition of certain details which the changes of the past fifty years 
seem to advise. 

1 Elected a member in 1848; son of Robert Manning, one of the founders. 

2 Justin Winsor, Editor. 1880. 

3 Hist, of the Mass. Hortic. Society. 1880. 


We learn from the sagas that Leif and Thorwald, Scandi- 
navians, landed in the tenth century at a place which they called 
Vinland. Champlain found the vine here six hundred years later, 4 
and Edward Russell wrote home from Plymouth in 162 1 that this 
was a land of vines as well as of berries and roses. The Norse 
account of the mildness of the winter formerly puzzled historians ; 
but in view of the almost incredible difference possible between 
one New England winter and another, we need not regard that 
description as inconsistent with the first terrible experience of the 

When the Pilgrims arrived, one of their first cares was to send 
out explorers. These returned with the news that they had found 
" Indian baskets, filled with corn, some whereof was in ears, fair 
and good, of divers colors ... of which they took some to carry 
to their friends on shipboard, like as the Israelites' spies brought 
from Eshcol some of the good fruits of the land." 5 

From the natives the colonists soon learned how to manure and 
plant Indian corn, of which of course they had no previous knowl- 
edge. The agriculture of the aborigines themselves was in 1620 
confined to the raising of Indian corn, beans, pumpkins and to- 
bacco, and their methods were necessarily very crude; they had 
no domestic animals for draft or burden, meat or milk ; no knowl- 
edge of iron, and therefore tools only of stone, clam-shells, and the 
shoulder-blades of deer and moose. 6 The corn was fertilized by the 
application of two or three fish or horse-shoe crabs to each hill, and 
until these had rotted, the Pilgrims had to watch at night to keep 
the wolves away from them. 7 In 1621 the governor exchanged seed 
for corn with Massasoit, in order to find out which the soil favored 
better; though to this highly important principle of agriculture the 
Indians were not entirely indifferent, having varieties adapted to 
the warmer or colder parts of the country, and carefully selecting 
the finest ears for seed. 8 But the small stock of English seeds had 
been almost used up in the fight against starvation during that first 
New England winter of " awful sublimity of suffering"; hand 

4 M. P. Wilder, in Memorial Hist, of Boston, Winsor, Vol. IV. 

5 Morton's New England's Memorial, p. 40, ed. 1826. Cited by Manning. 

6 Hon. W. R. Sessions, Transactions of M. H. S., 1899. 

7 Young's Chron. of the Pilgrims, p. 371. Cited by Manning. 

8 Report. Mass. Board of Agriculture, 1853, p. 5. Cited by Manning. 


tools, made almost entirely of wood, were all the agricultural im- 
plements they had then and for a dozen years thereafter; there 
were no ploughs, and indeed in 1637 on ^y thirty-seven existed in 
the whole colony. 9 Yet by the first of March, 162 1, the season 
being fortunately a forward one, real progress had been made. 
Twenty acres of corn had been planted in accordance with the 
instructions of the Indians, and six with barley and peas, the last, 
however, being a failure. 10 As to fruits and flowers, Edward Win- 
slow wrote in 1621 that there were grapes, "white and red, and 
very sweet and strong"; strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries, 
etc.; white, black and red plums, " almost as good as a damson "; 
abundance of roses, " white, red and damask, single, but very 
sweet indeed." u 

We have early records of farm and garden crops planted with 
an eye to immediate necessity, and indeed of some particular trees, 
such as the apple tree, planted about 1648 by Peregrine White at 
Marshfield, which lived long into the nineteenth century, when it 
stood seventeen feet in height and still bore fruit; a pear tree im- 
ported from England by Governor Prince, about 1640, and 
planted at Eastham, on Cape Cod; and a pear tree in Yarmouth 
planted at about the same time which " produced a fair crop in 
1872." 12 Mr. Amos Otis says that settlers in Barnstable and 
Yarmouth, with scarcely an exception, planted pear trees near 
their dwellings. 13 The scarcity of record in regard to general gar- 
dening operations probably indicates that the colonists were too 
much occupied with necessary crops to give much time to the 
luxuries, as they would have classed the fruits; but we shall hear 
of the efforts of Governors Endicott, Winthrop and Prince. The 
Red Kentish was the only cherry and the damson the only plum 
cultivated. The " Sugar " pear was introduced about 1680, and 
the Rhode Island Greening about 1765; up to 1750 very few 
apples not originating in the Old Colony were cultivated. All the 
Hightop Sweetings known were grafted trees. Among the ancient 
seedling varieties were the Foxwell, Pig Nose, Bachelor's Button, 

9 Hon. W. R. Sessions, Transactions of M. H. S., 1899. 

10 Young's Chronicles, p. 230. Cited by Manning. 

11 Young's Chronicles, p. 234. Cited by Manning. 

12 Letter from Amos Otis to Manning. 

13 Manning's Hist, of M. H. S., Introd. 


and Pearmains; and of the seedling pears, the Ewer and Aunt 
Desire. The poorer sorts were very early grafted with better kinds. 
The land was naturally rich in mould accumulated by the ages. 
The Rev. Francis Higginson, writing in 1629, says that " the 
aboundant encrease of corne proves this countrey to be a won- 
derment. Thirtie, fortie, fiftie, sixtie, are ordinarie here; Yea, 
Joseph's encrease in Egypt is outstript here with us. Our planters 
hope to have more than a hundred fould this yere. And all this 
while I am within compasse. What will you say of two hundred 
fould and upwards? . . . Our governor hath store of green pease 
growing in his garden, as good as ever I eat in England. The 
countrie aboundeth naturally with store of roots of great varietie. 
. . . Our turnips, parsnips, and carrots are here both bigger and 
sweeter than is ordinary to be found in England. Here are stores 
of pompions, cowcumbers, and other things of that nature which 
I know not. . . . Excellent vines are here, up and down in the 
woodes. Our governor hath already planted a vineyard with great 
hope of encrease. Also mulberries, plums, rasberries, corrance, 
chesnuts, filberds, walnuts, smalnuts, hurtleberries, and hawes 
of whitethorne, neere as good as our cherries in England; they 
grow in plentie here." 14 Another writer, in a letter appended to 
the above, says "Thus much I can affirme in generall, that I 
never came to a more goodly country in all my life ... it is very 
beautiful in open lands mixed with goodly woods, and again open 
plains, in some places five hundred acres, some places more, some 
lesse, not much troublesome for to cleere for the plough to goe 
in; no place barren but on the tops of the hills; the grasse and 
weedes grow up to a man's face; in the lowlands and by fresh 
rivers aboundance of grasse, and large meddowes without any tree 
or shrubbe to hinder the sith. . . . Everything that is heare 
eyther sowne or planted, prospereth far better then in Old Eng- 
land. The increase of corne is here far re beyond expectation, as 
I have seene here by experience in barly, the which, because it is 
so much above your conception I will not mention. . . . Vines 
doe grow here plentifully laden with the biggest grapes that ever 
I saw: some I have seene foure inches about . . . wee abound 

14 Mass. Historical Society's Collections, First Series, Vol. I, p. 118. Cited by 


with such things which, next under God, doe make us subsist: as 
. . . sundrie sorts of fruits, as musk-millions, water-millions, In- 
dian pompions, Indian pease, beanes, and many other odde fruits 
that I cannot name." 15 When the ship " Arabella " arrived at 
Salem on the twelfth of June, 1630, the " people went ashore and 
regaled themselves with strawberries, which are very fine in Amer- 
ica." 16 Roger Williams himself declares the strawberry to be the 
" wonder " of all the fruits growing naturally hereabouts, and says 
that where the natives had planted he had seen within a few 
miles' compass as many as would fill a good ship. 17 William 
Wood, 18 in this country between 1629 and 1633, says that one 
" may gather halfe a bushell in a forenoone," and adds that they 
are "verie large ones, some being two inches about. In other 
seasons," he continues, " there be gooseberries, Bilberries, Ras- 
berries, Treacleberries, Hurtleberries, Currants." He likewise tes- 
tifies to the excellence of the grapes, " which are very bigge, both 
for the grape and the Cluster, sweet and good; These be of two 
sorts, red and white," and " there is likewise a smaller kind of 
grape which groweth in the Islands, which is sooner ripe and more 
delectable." The cherries he is not so enthusiastic about: " they 
be much smaller than our English cherry, nothing neare so good 
if they be not fully ripe, they so furre the mouth that the tongue 
will cleave to the roof, and the throat wax hoarse with swallowing 
them. English ordering may bring them to be an English cherrie, 
but yet they are as wilde as the Indians" In this remark, as John 
E. Russell has pointed out, the direction of the best effort of the 
horticulturist is suggested. The "plummes," black and yellow, 
were comparatively better. 

As to horticulture, he found " very good arable ground, and 
hay grounds, faire Corn-fields, and pleasant gardens with 
Kitchin-gardens " in Dorchester, fruitful gardens in Roxbury, and 
good lands, gardens, and " sweet and pleasant Springs " in Bos- 
ton. It seems certain that fruit cultivation began around Boston; 

15 Mass. Historical Society's Collections, First Series, Vol. I, p. 124. Cited by 

10 Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts, Vol. I, p. 25, ed. 1795. Cited by 

17 Mass. Hist. Soc, First Series, Vol. Ill, p. 221. Cited by Manning. 

18 New England's Prospect, first ed., p. 4. This is the earliest agricultural ac- 
count of Massachusetts. Cited by Manning. 


William Blackstone's orchard was no doubt the first in Massa- 
chusetts. John Josselyn, who styled himself " gentleman," but 
whom some unkind writer considered best described by a much 
shorter word, gives in his " New England Rarities Discovered " 
and in his account of his two voyages 19 to America, some descrip- 
tion of the New England plants and trees. He says 20 there were 
pond frogs in Massachusetts chirping in spring like sparrows, and 
sitting a foot high, and that the Indians told him that up in the 
country some were " as big as a child a year old "; and he reports 
radishes as big as a man's arm; so perhaps we had better under- 
stand him as the Indians evidently did. " The plants in New Eng- 
gland, for the variety, number, beauty, and vertues may stand 
in Competition with the plants of any Countrey in Europe. John- 
son hath added to Gerard's Herbal 300, and Parkinson men- 
tioneth many more; had they been in New-England they might 
have found 1000 at least never heard of nor seen by any English- 
man before." He mentions the American Mary-gold, the Earth- 
nut bearing a princely Flower, the beautiful leaved Pirola, the 
honeyed Colibry, and the " Red-Lilly which growes all over the 
Countrey amongst the bushes." " Our fruit-trees prosper abund- 
antly, Apple-trees, Pear-trees, Quince-trees, Cherry-trees, Plum- 
trees, Barberry-trees. I have observed with admiration that the 
Kernels sown or the Succors planted produce as fair & good fruit 
without grafting as the tree from whence they were taken: the 
Countrey is replenished with fair and large Orchards. It was 
affirmed by one Mr. Woolcut (a magistrate in Connecticut Col- 
ony) . . . that he made Five hundred Hogsheads of Syder out 
of his own Orchard in one year. Syder is very plentiful in the 
Countrey, ordinarily sold for Ten shillings a Hogshead. At the 
tap-houses in Boston I have had an Ale-quart spic'd and sweet- 
ened with Sugar for a groat. . . . The Quinces, Cherries, Dam- 
sons set the Dames a work, Marmalad and preserved Damsons 
is to be met with in every house. ... I made Cherry wine, and 
so may others, for there are good store of them both red and 
black." He minutely describes many of the plants he had ob- 

19 Reprint, Mass. Hist. Soc, Collections, 3rd Series, Vol. Ill; and Rareties, 
Tuckerman's Ed. 

20 William Lincoln, Address at Ninth Anniversary, M. H. S., Transactions, 


served, classifying them as such plants as are common in England ; 
such as are proper to the country; such as are proper to the coun- 
try and have no names; such as have sprung up since the Eng- 
lish planted and kept cattle in New England; and such garden 
herbs amongst us as thrive there and such as do not. 21 Almost 
all the common garden vegetables throve, we find from his lists. 
The necessity of growing plants for subsistence precluded as it 
always must any real attention to garden flowers during the 
earliest days; horticulture must wait for agriculture; Josselyn men- 
tions hollyhocks, gillyflowers, sweet-brier or eglantine, and Eng- 
lish roses — probably the first intimation we have of garden 
floriculture, if we except Winslow's. 

In regard to injurious insects, Manning quotes Josselyn, and 
infers that a certain " Bug that lies in the earth and eateth the 
seed ... of a white colour with a red hear and about the bignes 
of ones finger and an inch or an inch and a half long " is the larva 
of the May beetle. Corn and garden plants were troubled by 
something like a cutworm; and in 1661, according to John Hull, 
the canker-worm had " for fower years devoured most of the ap- 
ples in Boston, that the apple trees look in June as if it was 
the 9th month." Later, in three different years, fasts were 
held in Salem for deliverance from caterpillars, palmer worms, 
and other destructive insects. 22 The curculio, against which the 
members of the Society were to wage a long and indifferently 
successful war a century later, was already a great nuisance in 
I746. 23 

Drought was always a menace. There is no record of the tem- 
perature during the first hundred years; but from the first ex- 
periment with barley and peas — and that first summer was hot 
— it seemed evident that unacclimated English plants found our 
sun too intense. Later, the English seeds yielded abundantly, as 
the Rev. Francis Higginson has told us. Probably little change has 
taken place in the climate, in spite of the subsequent assump- 
tions to the contrary; and the forests, which play so large a part, 
were not so all-pervasive as many have assumed : there was much 

21 Robert Manning, History of the M. H. S., p. 9. 

22 Felt's Annals of Salem, Vol. II, p. 127. Cited by Manning. 

28 Manning, quoting John Bartram. Darlington's Memorials of Bartram and 
Marshall, p. 175. 


clear land, and the Indians habitually burned over great tracts, 
leaving the fires to cease only through lack of further material or 
through heavy rains. It was the indigenous corn that saved the 
colonists; the native flora of New England did not suffice for the 
support of man, and our fathers soon discovered that they had to 
cultivate, — with the gratifying result that we have seen. 24 The 
Indians had kidney beans, pompions, and watermelons, says Jos- 
selyn, and Champlain adds squashes, which however Marquette 
pronounces not of the best. The Indians rapidly adopted the vege- 
tables introduced from Europe, and established orchards, usu- 
ally of peach and apple trees; and these introductions included 
afterwards no doubt many of the M fruites, as peaches, plums, 
filberts, cherries, pear, apple, quince kernells, pomegranats, 
wheate, rye, barley, oates, woad, saffron, liquorice seed, madder 
rootes, potatoes, hop rootes, currant plants," which the Mas- 
sachusetts Company announced its intention to supply to the 

Pomology began when Governor Winthrop, next to Blackstone 
the most prominent horticulturist in New England, planted the 
seeds of pippins on an island of Boston Harbor, says Russell. 25 In 
1639 there were ten fair pippins. The name of the island became 
" The Governor's Garden "; and its pippins — or two bushels of 
them every year — paid the rent of it. But Governor Endicott, who 
planted trees in Salem as early as 1628, should perhaps be called 
our first nurseryman. 26 He obtained trees by exchanging land at 
the rate of one acre for two young trees. Peregrine White, the first 
man born in the colony, planted apples; and indeed, fortunately 
for us, this most useful of fruits was soon thoroughly at home in 
the new world. Its early cultivators desired quantity, as we have 
seen, for their " syder " — a beverage which, Mr. Russell says, 
they perhaps inclined to the more readily for the same reason that 
the Chaplain of Newgate, in Jonathan Wild's time, gave for his 
love for rum punch — " because it was nowhere spoken against 
in the Scriptures." They could not know that the soil and climate 
of New England were perfectly fitted to the improvement of this 

24 See John E. Russell, in Transactions, M. H. S., 1885. 

25 Mass. Records, Vol. I, p. 24 and p. 392. 

26 Memorial Hist, of Boston, Winsor. 


most useful of all their fruits. Pear trees also were grown, and 
from their fruit another beverage was made called perry, which is 
considered most happily forgotten. 

Gamaliel Wayte, planter — which probably means gardener — 
owned a garden in Summer Street, in which he planted trees as 
early as 1642, " noted for the excellence of their fruits." He was 
one of our earliest horticulturists; and we learn with pleasure 
from Judge SewalFs diary that not long before his death at the age 
of eighty-seven, he was blessed with several new teeth. In 1646 the 
court of the Colony of Massachusetts enacted that the person who 
should be known to rob any orchard or garden, or who should in- 
jure or steal any graft or fruit tree, should forfeit treble damages 
to the owner. 27 

Many apple and pear trees dating from colonial days of course 
stood for generations ; and of some of these Robert Manning gives 
a detailed and loving account. 28 Fruit from an apple tree given by 
the Indians with an acre of land to the apostle Eliot, who died in 
1690, was exhibited before the Massachusetts Horticultural So- 
ciety in 1833. 

By 1726 the culture of fruit and vegetables had greatly ex- 
tended, according to Justice Paul Dudley of Roxbury. 29 He re- 
ports that the plants imported from England did splendidly here, 
that our apples and pears were as good as England's, and our 
peaches better — in his own garden he had seven or eight hun- 
dred of the Rareripes growing on one tree. People hereabouts had 
" run much upon orchards," and were making incredible quanti- 
ties of cider. A good apple tree measured from six to ten feet 
in girth — Pearmains, Kentish Pippins and Golden Rossetins — 
and an exceptional Orange Pear tree, which yielded the " fairest 
fruit," grew nearly forty feet high. One specimen of the " fair 
fruit " in his own orchard measured eleven inches " round the 
Bulge." One of his neighbors had a Bergamot pear tree brought 
from England in 1643 tnat now measured six feet in circumfer- 
ence, and bore twenty-two bushels of fine pears in one year. Dud- 
ley was interested in stately trees, and gives the measurements of 

27 Mass. Records, Vol. II, p. 180. 

28 Hist, of M. H. S., Manning, p. 15. 

29 Philosophical Transactions, Abridgment, Vol. VI, Part II, p. 341. 


several found in the forest; and he likewise gives many examples 
of large vegetable crops. 

He tells us nothing about the flowers ; but gardens of course at 
this time formed a part of the estates 30 of the wealthy in Boston. 
They followed the English tradition in style, and included fruit 
and shade trees, planted on terraces if the ground sloped. Gov- 
ernor Bellingham owned one of these estates on Tremont Street, 
afterwards the property of Andrew Faneuil, and notable as the 
first in New England to be provided with a hothouse. The finest 
perhaps was that of Thomas Hancock, which included the present 
State House grounds, and, later, that of Gardiner Greene, whose 
greenhouse was said to be the only one in Boston at that time. 
Greene's garden was terraced, and planted with vines, fruits, orna- 
mental trees, flowering shrubs and plants. Marshall P. Wilder 
visited it in his younger days, and declares that it " gave him some 
of those strong incentives that governed him in the cultivation of 
shrubs and flowers " 31 — a fact which by itself entitles Greene to 
our gratitude. From the garden of Dr. Samuel A. Shurtleff origi- 
nated the Shurtleff grape. Governor James Bowdoin had a large 
garden on Beacon hill, and his son one on Milk Street, extending 
almost to Franklin, with which General H. A. S. Dearborn, the 
first president of the Society, was familiar, and from which, says 
Wilder, he probably caught some of his zeal as a horticulturist. 
Kirk Boott had a greenhouse, and the best collection of amaryl- 
lises and orchids in the country, the latter representing indeed the 
first attempt in New England in the culture of this tribe of plants. 
Perrin May cultivated fruits at the South End, on Washington 
Street, and attributed his success with pears partly to trapping 
vagrant cats and fertilizing the soil with them. 31 

To the suburbs, particularly Roxbury, Boston tastes had spread 
and produced gardens from which afterwards came such fruits as 
the Downer cherry, the Andrews, the Frederick Clapp, the Har- 
ris, the Clapp's Favorite seedling pears, the Dorchester black- 
berry, President Wilder strawberry, and the Diana grape. Before 
the nineteenth century began, Judge John Lowell had been a 

30 Drake's Old Landmarks of Boston. Atlantic Monthly, Vol. XL Cited by 

31 Memorial Hist, of Boston, Winsor. 


leader in promoting agriculture and himself possessed an orchard, 
a garden, and one of the first greenhouses. At his death his mantle 
fell justly on the shoulders of his son, the Honorable John Lowell, 
whose interest was in the growth of exotics, and who, like his 
father, occupied the presidency of the Massachusetts Society for 
Promoting Agriculture, which was incorporated in 1792. General 
Dearborn's garden was in Roxbury, and from it came several 
hundred ornamental trees planted at Mt. Auburn. From Enoch 
Bartlett's place came the Bartlett pear, the product of trees which 
he found there when he bought it — the most popular variety in 
the country, but later ascertained to be the Williams Bon Chre- 
tien. The Aaron Davis Williams place produced choice fruits and 
vegetables for Boston; and Rufus G. Amory, interested in orna- 
mental culture, imported trees and shrubs from Europe — it is 
said that among the latter he received at a high price our common 
barberry bushes while he was paying men five shillings a day to 
dig them out of his own grounds. Cambridge had before the begin- 
ning of the century become celebrated for its gardens and cul- 
tured grounds. Andrew Craigie had constructed a greenhouse 
on the land now occupied by the Episcopal Seminary's dormitory, 
and also possessed an ice house, an almost unheard-of luxury; and 
many good people feared that a judgment might fall on him for 
so obviously thwarting the designs of Providence by raising flow- 
ers in winter and keeping ice to cool the heat of summer. Thomas 
Brattle's garden was the pride of Cambridge, and Bosenger Fos- 
ter's fruit garden was one of the best of its kind. 32 

The first New England nurseries of much importance were 
John Kenrick's at Newton, and his son's at Nonantum Hill. The 
first was started in 1790, and was devoted to the raising of peach 
trees from the stone, but soon included other fruit trees. James 
Hyde, father of one of the presidents of the Society, established a 
fruit-tree nursery about 1800; and in Brighton, Jonathan Win- 
ship, like Kenrick one of our founders, supplied Boston and other 
cities with trees for its Common and streets. Winship was one of 
the first to send cut flowers to the Boston markets. Joseph Breck, 
also of Brighton, who cultivated ornamental plants and made a 

32 Memorial Hist, of Boston, Winsor. See Wilder's article, from which most of 
the notes above are taken. 


business of seeds, was the proprietor and editor of the " Horticul- 
tural Register," and the author of a volume of wide circulation 
and many editions, the " Book of Flowers." It was in Brighton 
that the exhibitions of the Massachusetts Society for Promoting 
Agriculture took place for many years. Eben Preble, of Water- 
town, in 1805 imported 150 varieties of fruit trees into Boston; 
but so great has been the improvement in our fruits that only two 
of them were still considered valuable when Wilder wrote. Of 
Robert Manning's pomological garden in Salem we shall hear 

In Maine 33 the earliest settlers at once began to plant orchards, 
especially of apples; and by 1730 we find that John North, who 
settled in Bristol, cultivated also a garden of flowers and shrubs. 
In 1796 Benjamin and Charles Vaughan, two Englishmen, came 
to Hallowell, and established a garden, a large orchard, and a 
nursery of fruit trees, where new sorts of fruits, vegetables and 
trees were tested for dissemination throughout the State. John 
Hesketh was their head gardener, a man of thorough experience in 
horticulture and landscape gardening, which he had acquired at 
the estate of Lord Derby in England. Ephraim Goodale had estab- 
lished the first tree nursery in the State, and both he and Dr. 
Benjamin Vaughan afterwards became honorary members of the 
Massachusetts Horticultural Society. 

In New York, Governor Stuyvesant's " bouwery " was well kept 
with the help of slaves and white servants. 34 As to the introduction 
of pears by the Huguenots, who fled to this country after 1685, 
Manning agrees with Lowell, writing in the " New England Far- 
mer " in 1828, that the White Doyenne, which was the most ex- 
tensively cultivated near New York and on Long Island, was in- 
troduced by them. Cherry trees were planted at Yonkers about 
1650 by Philipse, the founder. 35 

In Virginia wine-making was begun as early as 162 1, and the 
French vine-dressers who had been brought over reported the 
conditions superior to those in Languedoc. 36 Successful attempts 

33 First Annual Report, Maine State Pomological Society. Cited by Manning. 
3 * Lamb's Hist, of the City of N. Y., Vol. I, pp. 187, 215. Cited by Manning. 

35 New England Farmer, Vol. VII, p. 121; and Pomological Manual, Part I, p. 
45. Cited by Manning. 

36 Holmes's American Annals, first ed., 1805, Vol. I, p. 224. Cited by Manning. 


were made at several vineyards in the state, though that in 1683 
by William Penn near Philadelphia was a failure. Nectarines, 
apricots and peaches grew abundantly, and the peaches, some of 
which were said to be twelve or thirteen inches in circumference, 
were used for making brandy, and even, so plentiful were they, for 
feeding hogs. The peach, and with it the pear, was introduced 
about 1735 by George Robbins, of Easton, Maryland, who had 
imported the seeds from London. 37 

The French settlers in Illinois evidently cultivated apple, pear, 
peach and cherry trees and vegetables, 38 and the pear trees on the 
banks of the river near Detroit survived for generations. They 
grew to huge proportions, and produced a very palatable fruit, 
whose identity with any French variety has not, however, 
been established. 39 It is possible that missionaries brought seeds 
from Normandy with them. Some of the apples are of Cana- 
dian origin. The first peach tree at St. Joseph, where the peach 
was afterwards so successfully cultivated, was raised by one 
Burnett, an Indian trader, who came there in 1775; and the 
settlers who came half a century later found peaches growing 
there. 40 

William Penn tells us that no Indian plantation was without 
peaches, which he considered equal to any in England but the 
Newington, and debated whether it would be better to try to im- 
prove the various fruits of the country or to send for foreign stems 
and sets. His hesitation arose from the logical probability that a 
fruit would grow best where it grows naturally. 41 It was near 
Philadelphia that the first botanic garden in America was begun 
by John Bartram in 1728; and here grew the plants and trees 
collected by him in his explorations over nearly all the known ter- 
ritory of his time. 42 From him went constantly the best produc- 
tions, trees, plants and fruit, to his many distinguished friends 
abroad ; and from them he received in return their own most valu- 

37 Report U. S. Commissioner of Patents, 1853, pp. 260-297. Cited by Manning. 

38 Transactions, Illinois Hortic. Society, Vol. X, New Series, p. 125; and Country 
Gentleman, Sept. 25. 1879. Cited by Manning. 

39 Manning, History of the M. H. S. 

40 Reports of Michigan Pom. Soc, 1872-3-S. Cited by Manning. 

41 Watson's Annals of Phila., ed. 1844, Vol. I— 17, 46; Vol. II— 46. Cited by 

42 Horticulturist, V — 253; X — 371; XI — 79. Cited by Manning. 


able fruits and flowers. It was he undoubtedly, says Manning,* 3 
who made the first experiment in this country in hybridizing. He 
writes in 1739, " I have made several successful experiments of 
joining several species of the same genus, whereby I have obtained 
curious mixed colors in flowers, never known before; but this re- 
quires an accurate observation and judgment to know the precise 
time." 44 

Another botanical garden was established at West Bradford, 
Pennsylvania, by Bartram's cousin, Humphrey Marshall, in 1773. 
It is interesting to learn from the account of his exportations to 
Scotland that there must already have been enough varieties of 
apples, pears and peaches, of grafted or inoculated kinds, to make 
up a respectable list. In 1777 John Jackson, a neighbor of Mar- 
shall's, began a collection of plants at his place in Londongrove; 
and about 1800 the brothers Peirce, of East Marlborough, began 
planting, and eventually produced an arboretum of evergreens and 
other forest trees perhaps never surpassed in this country. 45 

The results of a botanical exploration begun in 1773 by Wil- 
liam Bartram, 46 son of John, throw much light on the horticul- 
tural activities of the Indians and the settlers through the Caro- 
linas, Georgia, Florida, and westward to the Mississippi. At 
Charleston, South Carolina, was a large plantation of the Euro- 
pean mulberry, some of which were grafted on the native for the 
purpose of feeding the silk-worms. Near Savannah were fruit trees 
and flowering shrubs; and on the site of Frederika, the first Eng- 
lish town in Georgia, peach, fig, pomegranate and other things 
grew amid the ruins. On the St. John's River in Florida were flour- 
ishing orange groves descended from the trees brought by the 
early Spanish settlers. In Alabama were a few apple trees planted 
by the French, and at Pearl Island, near New Orleans, perfect 
peaches, figs, grapes, plums and other fruits. Near Baton Rouge, 
Bartram observed a garden in which grew many curious exotics, 
particularly the tuberose. The Indians cultivated orange groves, 
and established plantations of maize, sweet potatoes, beans and 
other legumes; tobacco; and pumpkins, squashes, melons and 

43 Hist., p. 25. 

44 Darlington's Memorials, p. 315. Cited by Manning. 

45 Darlington's Memorial, pp. 22, 531. Cited by Manning. 

46 Manning, Hist., pp. 27-28. 


other cucurbitaceae, while about their villages grew plum, peach 
and fig trees. The " Columbia " peach, as Cove described it, was 
so largely cultivated in the Carolinas and Georgia that it was 
called the Indian peach. 

The Linnaean Botanic Garden at Flushing, Long Island, was 
founded about the middle of the eighteenth century, and endeav- 
ored to procure all foreign and native plants. The collection of 
grapes was especially large, the plants numerous and various, and 
many of the forest trees splendid. Some of the earliest attempts in 
this country to produce improved varieties of fruit from seed were 
made here. At about the date of the founding of the Massachusetts 
Horticultural Society, these nurseries covered thirty acres, one of 
which was devoted to a collection of over six hundred different 
kinds of roses. 47 William Robert Prince, of the third generation 
from the founder of the Garden, became widely known in the hor- 
ticultural world as an introducer of new plants and as a writer. He 
dedicated his Pomological Manual in 1831 to the Society, of 
which he was a corresponding member. 

In South Carolina the first garden cultivated on a large scale 
was that of Mrs. Lamboll, 48 at Charleston, — a commentary, it 
seems to us, on the rather thinly veiled scepticism of our beloved 
founders in regard to woman's usefulness in horticulture, which 
almost inevitably brought up the sore subject of the garden of 
Eden, as we shall see. About 1755 Henry Laurens introduced 
olives, capers, limes, ginger, Guinea-grass, the Alpine strawberry, 
red raspberries and blue grapes; and from southern France apples, 
pears, plums, and the white Chasselas grape. Here also a woman 
was in charge, Mrs. Elinor Laurens, assisted by John Watson — 
a " complete English gardener," as Manning calls him, who after- 
wards established the first nursery in the state. Two other notable 
gardens were Charles Drayton's, which contained many exotics 
and a display of all the botanic treasures of South Carolina, and 
William Williamson's, at St. Paul's, planted with native and for- 
eign flowering trees and shrubs, and with fruit trees. 49 

47 Loudon's Gardeners' Magazine, Vol. Ill— 466; Vol. VIII— 2S0. N. E. Farmer, 
Vol. V— 294; Vol. VII— 25. Cited by Manning. 

48 Manning, Hist., p. 29. 

49 Ramsay, Hist, of South Carolina, ed. 1858. Vol. II, pp. 128, 129, 193. Cited 
by Manning. 


New Smyrna, 50 Florida, became the home of fifteen hundred 
Greeks, Italians, and Minorcans brought thither by its founder, 
Andrew Turnbull, for the production of sugar and indigo. The 
vine, fig, pomegranate, olive, orange and other tropical fruits were 
also cultivated, including the excellent Turnbull orange, both here 
and in other portions of the state. 

Turning now for a moment to other important parts of our sub- 
ject, such as the seedsmen and the gardeners, the nurseries and 
the specialists, we find in 1769 Benjamin Coates, of Salem, adver- 
tising garden seeds imported from London. George Heusler, 51 a 
German born in Alsace, Germany, is the first distinct figure we 
have of a regularly educated gardener. His experience had been 
acquired in several royal gardens of Germany and that of the 
King of Holland, and he brought with him to America in 1 780 pro- 
fessional diplomas and recommendations. His work and influence 
centred about Salem and extended throughout Essex County for 
more than a quarter of a century. The description of him as a 
" highly esteemed, intelligent, upright, kind-hearted " man, cap- 
able of communicating his tastes and enthusiasms, is very pro- 
phetic of the development of that profession which has been such a 
vital factor in the success of the great horticultural societies which 
came later. Heusler's bill in 1799 to Nathaniel Silsbee of Salem 
was for the following trees — at the price of two shillings, or about 
thirty-three cents, each: six plum trees, two each of Semiana, Im- 
peratrice, and Bonum Magnum; twelve peach trees, three each of 
Brattal's White, Early Purple, Red Magdalen, and Noblesse; 
three apricots; twelve Lombardy poplars; and twelve large-leaf 
poplars — the last two of which kinds were then the favorite orna- 
mental trees. 

It was George Washington himself who after the Revolution 
was first in the great art of peace, horticulture. He was a practical 
farmer, and the flower of a most cultivated and refined society. 
Organized effort began with the formation in 1785 of the Philadel- 
phia Society for Promoting Agriculture, and the Agricultural So- 
ciety of South Carolina, though the latter was not incorporated 

50 Forbes's Sketches of the Floridas, pp. 85-91, 178. Cited by Manning. 
81 Bulletin of the Essex Institute, Vol. II, p. 22; Felt's Annals of Salem, Vol. 
II, p. 147. Cited by Manning. 


until ten years later. The Massachusetts Society for Promoting 
Agriculture was incorporated on the seventh of March, 1792, and 
enlisted the services of our leading citizens, amongst whom the 
names of John Lowell, General Dearborn's " Columella of the 
Northern States," is perhaps of greatest interest to us. The fol- 
lowing year this Society began the publication of the " Massachu- 
setts Agricultural Repository," 52 the first periodical of its kind in 
the country. This continued until the establishment of the " New 
England Farmer," and addressed an occasional article to hor- 

One of the first seed growers in the country was the founder 
of the Landreth 53 firm, which was started in Philadelphia soon 
after 1784. Here was produced the earliest collection of camellias, 
the flower which became so popular with the early members of our 
Society, and engaged such deep interest in Marshall P. Wilder. 
Our pioneer pomologist was William Coxe, 54 of Burlington, N. J., 
and his book on the cultivation of fruit trees and the management 
of orchard interests was our first American book on pomology. 
He brought to his collection the best varieties of fruit, and wrote 
with great accuracy on apples, peaches, pears, plums and cherries. 
William Hamilton, of Philadelphia, collected many curious exotics, 
and introduced the Lombardy poplar in 1784. John Adlum, 55 of 
Georgetown, after a long struggle with the foreign grape for the 
purpose of making wine, abandoned it and took up the native 
varieties, amongst which was the Catawba, which he found in 
Maryland and brought to public notice. Attempts to make wine 
from the foreign grape were likewise unsuccessfully made by an 
association of French settlers near Lexington, Kentucky, whose 
members then joined another settlement of Frenchmen at Vevay, 
Indiana, with similar results. But Nicholas Longworth, of Cin- 
cinnati, had read of the Catawba; and obtaining it from Adlum, 
he made the pronounced success which did so much for the im- 
provement of the native grape in the United States. Longworth 

52 Transactions, Mass. Soc. for Promoting Agriculture, New Series, Vol. I. 
Cited by Manning. 

53 Landreth's Rural Register and Almanac, 1872 and 1874; Johnson's Diction- 
ary of Modern Gardening, Am. Ed., p. 337; Hovey's Magazine, p. 202. Cited by 

54 See Horticulturist, Vol. XI, p. 304. Cited by Manning. 
65 N. E. Farmer, Vol. II, p. 227. 


later on several occasions sent specimens of his wines to General 
Dearborn for exhibition. 

In California, the grape, palm, olive and other fruits flourished 
early at the missions. Some of the great vines grew to an enormous 
size, especially the famous one at Santa Barbara, whose trunk, 
four feet and four inches in circumference, was exhibited at Phila- 
delphia in the Exposition of 1876. Growing, it had covered 
more than an acre, and produced each season over five tons of 
fruit. E. J. Hooper, who wrote of it to Manning, 56 said that it was 
introduced directly from Mexico, but probably originally from 
Spain, and was of the Mission variety. It seems a worthy rival 
of the great vine at Hampton Court, England. 57 

To return to the east, we find in 1802 a fruit brought to Salem 
which had mysterious difficulties in making its way into public 
confidence, the tomato. Miss Mary E. Cutler, of Holliston, Mas- 
sachusetts, tells the story 58 that a man from Bermuda, unfortu- 
nate enough to find himself in a Pennsylvania jail, planted in the 
yard a few seeds which he had with him, but was discharged be- 
fore they reached maturity. The strange fruit, changing as it 
ripened from green to red, attracted the prisoners ; but the matron, 
believing it poisonous, cautioned them against it. She planted some 
of the seeds herself in the spring, and just as the fruit was ripe 
the Bermuda man called to see it. To everybody's horror he pro- 
cured pepper, salt and vinegar, and ate it with relish. It was the 
tomato, he said, or love-apple, wholesome and nutritious. The 
seeds were preserved and distributed; but something in the fruit's 
character seemed to keep it under suspicion, and it did not at once 
become popular. Perhaps it was regarded by some asa " fruit " 
masquerading as a " vegetable," and by others vice versa. Michele 
Felice Corne, the Italian painter who brought it to Salem, could 
hardly persuade people even to taste it. 59 It was used as food 
in New Orleans in 181 2, and was sold in Philadelphia markets 
in 1829, 60 but did not come into use in the North until some 

56 Manning, History, p. 37, 39. 

57 The stem of this famous Black Hamburg Vine was a foot in diameter when 
B. P. Ware described it in 1901. See Transactions, 1901. 

58 Lecture, Jan. 10, 1903. Transactions, M. H. S. 

59 Felt's Annals of Salem, II, p. 631. Cited by Manning. 

60 Prairie Farmer, June 28, 1876. Cited by Manning. 


years later. 61 Even more difficult to account for is the astonish- 
ing fact that potatoes, though introduced in 1629, were not 
considered of importance until a hundred and twenty-five years 
later. 62 

In 1 80 1 began in Massachusetts a movement which eventually 
led to a result of supreme importance to scientific horticulture, the 
establishment and endowment of the future Harvard Botanic 
Garden. This was begun by the Society for Promoting Agriculture, 
which subscribed for the establishment of a professorship of Natu- 
ral History at Cambridge, and appointed a committee to work for 
this and the projected garden. In 1805 the latter was laid out; and, 
supported as necessary by the Society for Promoting Agriculture, 
it was one of the great factors in cultivating the taste which re- 
sulted in the forming of the Massachusetts Horticultural Soci- 
ety. 63 Many of our oldest members purchased their plants 
from it. 64 

Near New York City at the same period was the Elgin Bo- 
tanic Garden, the purpose of which was to collect American plants. 
This, like the gardens at Charleston, South Carolina, and in 
Maryland, have disappeared; but its founder, Dr. David Hosack, 
served horticulture not only by patronage, but by the example of 
his own taste in landscape gardening, and by the introduction and 
exportation of fruits and plants. His estate on the Hudson covered 
about seven hundred acres, and included greenhouses and hot- 
houses, shrubberies, flower and kitchen gardens, and a well- 
wooded park. Through him many of our best fruits reached Euro- 
pean horticulturists, amongst them the Seckel pear, trees of which 
he sent to the London Horticultural Society in 1818. 65 The seed 
and flower store of the Thorburns was at this period a centre for 
flower lovers in New York City. 66 At the nurseries of Michael 
Floy in the same city originated several varieties of the camellia, 
to which flower his interest had turned in England, whence he 
had brought a plant of the Double White Camellia for John 

01 Manning, Hist., p. 40. 

62 Hon. Wm. R. Sessions, Lecture, Transactions for 1899. 

63 Trans., Mass. Soc. for Prom. Ag., New Series, I — 28. Cited by Manning. 
01 Manning, History, p. 40, 41. 

65 Hovey's Magazine, III — 5; Loudon's Gardeners' Magazine, VIII — 282; 
Downing's Landscape Gardening, sixth cd., p. 29. Cited by Manning. 

66 Manning, History, p. 41. 


Stevens, of Hoboken, in 1800. 07 To John McMahon, whose green- 
houses and gardens were between Philadelphia and Nicetown, we 
largely owe the dissemination of the novelties collected by Lewis 
and Clarke on their journey to the Pacific. 68 

Hand in hand with the interest in gardens, which was exempli- 
fied by several famous estates about Philadelphia and on the 
Hudson, went the attempt by amateurs to increase by importation 
the available varieties of fruits. This did not bring striking results, 
but it serves to indicate the growing discrimination which might 
eventually do so. The hope that the new demand would stimulate 
growers towards better quality was expressed by a writer in 
the Massachusetts Agricultural Repository, 69 who in 1814 gave 
the following list of the best varieties: peaches: Early Ann, 
White Magdalen, Red Magdalen, Noblesse, Old Newington, 
Swalch, Catherine, Lemon Clingstone, Vanguard, Blood; cherries: 
Mayduke, English, Black Heart, Bigarreaus, Black Tartarian; 
apples: Rhode Island Greening, Red Nonsuch, Nonpareil, New- 
town Pippin, Roxbury Russet, Spitzenberg, Baldwin; pears: Lit- 
tle Muscat, Catherine, Jargonelle, Summer Bergamot, Brockholst 
(Brocas, queries Manning), Bergamot, Brown Beurre, St. Michael, 
Monsieur Jean, Rousseline, Winter Good Christian, Virgoleuse, 
Colmar, Chaumontelle, St. Germain. Manning, 70 quoting Joseph 
Breck's recollections, observes that for two centuries after the 
country was settled there is evidence of very little horticultural 
progress. There were good seedling pears, peaches, apples and 
cherries in abundance, but until 1820 no recorded importation or 
dissemination to any extent of fruit trees or scions. After the war 
of 181 2, however, a recovery of interest in horticulture began, as 
had been the case after the Revolution, and in 181 8 the New York 
Horticultural Society, the first in the United States, was organized. 
Incorporated four years later, it purposed to establish a garden 
of from ten to twenty acres devoted to horticulture, botany, and 
especially the culture of fruit trees; a hall for lectures; a library; 
a botanical cabinet; and a professorship of botany and horticul- 
ture. Its founders and members included the most eminent New 
York scientific and practical horticulturists, and for a time it was 

67 Hovey's Magazine, I — 14. Cited by Manning. 69 Vol. Ill, 1814, p. 92. 

68 Manning, History, p. 42. 70 History, p. 44. 



conducted energetically; but after a few years interest began to 
decline, and by about the fifteenth anniversary of its incorpora- 
tion it had ceased to exist. 71 

Next came the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, organized 
at Philadelphia on the twentieth of November, 1827, and char- 
tered on the twenty-fourth of March, 1831. Its first annual dis- 
play was held in the autumn of 1830. Today, after a century of 
continually increasing prosperity, it is the oldest society of its kind 
in the country; " too well known," said Robert Manning in 1880, 72 

to need anything said . . . beyond expressing the hope that its 
progress, and its beneficial influence on horticulture, may be 
even greater in the future than in the past," — a hope which the 
half century since he expressed it has richly fulfilled. Generous co- 
operation at every possible point has been the rule between this 
and the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, — a logical conse- 
quence of their common purpose, the advancement of horticul- 
ture for the public good. The Domestic Horticultural Society, of 
Geneva, New York, and the Albany Horticultural Society were 
formed before our own; but their lives were brief and they left 
no considerable mark. The establishment of all these societies at 
practically the same period makes it evident that the time was 
now ripe for concerted, systematized effort in horticultural sci- 
ence, and for the organization it implied. But as Robert Manning 
with careful justice points out, there already existed a model from 
which to build, the Horticultural Society of London, which was or- 
ganized on the seventh of March, 1804, chartered in 1809, and 
officered by men of unrivalled knowledge and practical skill. " No 
organized body has ever imparted such a stimulus to cultivation 
as this society," he observed. " It was many years ago remarked 
that it had accomplished more since its foundation than China had 
done in a thousand years." It would indeed be hard to overesti- 
mate its immediate results in the matters of nomenclature, im- 
provement in the arts of cultivation, importation of valuable 
plants, horticultural education through published treatises, and 
perhaps most important of all, the schooling of the professional 

71 Am. Journal of Science and Art, VIII — 398; Hovey's Magazine, II, 391, 461, 
and III, 389; Letter of John J. Thomas. Cited by Manning. 
7 - History, p. 45, 46. 


gardener. 73 Its distinguished President, Thomas Andrew Knight, 
established friendly contact with the Massachusetts Society for 
Promoting Agriculture through John Lowell, who had written to 
him for a copy of the London Society's Transactions for Harvard 
College. 74 He presented for propagation and distribution trees and 
scions of the new varieties of fruit which he had originated or in- 
troduced from the continent, and amongst these were such valu- 
able fruits as the Urbaniste, Napoleon, and Passe Colmar pears, 
the Black Eagle, Elton, Downton, and Waterloo cherries, and the 
Coe's Golden Drop plum. The importance at this time of these 
and subsequent donations is, of course, almost incalculable, and 
the correspondence with the London President hardly less signifi- 
cant. They were received by John Lowell, President of the Agri- 
cultural Society, by whom scions were freely offered afterwards 
to members of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society; and by 
Samuel G. Perkins of Brookline, like Lowell a corresponding mem- 
ber of the London Society, imported strawberry plants and scions 
of new pears and plums were offered to whoever would send for 
them. 75 

It was moreover at about this time, 1823, that the degenera- 
tion of some of the finest old varieties of the pear was becoming 
evident, — the Chaumontelle, Virgouleuse, St. Germain, Summer 
and Winter Bonchretiens, and St. Michael. During the year Robert 
Manning, father of our author and a founder of the Society, be- 
gan his pomological garden at Salem with the object of identifying 
and testing such fruits regardless of origin as were hardy enough 
to stand the New England winter, and to select for propagation 
those which seemed most promising. He and William Kenrick cor- 
responded with the celebrated Dr. Van Mons of Belgium, with the 
fruit department of the London Horticultural Society, and with 
prominent nurserymen of Europe and America. By 1842, when 
he died, his collection was the largest yet made by any American 
— nearly two thousand varieties of apples, pears, peaches, plums, 
cherries and apricots, of which the pears were perhaps his special 
interest. His son states — with plentiful references 76 to others 

73 Book of the Royal Horticultural Society, p. 43. Cited by Manning. 

74 Transactions, 1865, Pres. Hovey's Address. 

75 Manning, History, p. 49, with references. 

76 Manning, History, p. 48. 


for his statements, but an enthusiasm derived from his own as- 
sociation with his father's work — that " to him more than to 
any other one in his day — perhaps it would be just to say more 
than to all others — were the public indebted for the introduction 
of new and choice fruits, for the identification of the different 
varieties, for the correctness of their nomenclature and the testing 
of their qualities ; and he was acknowledged to be the highest au- 
thority in regard to the names and synonymes of fruits." It may 
be added that Robert Manning, Jr., was a worthy and conscien- 
tious successor to his father, whose work he continued in con- 
nection with the Massachusetts Horticultural Society for many 

A canvass of the nurseries near the larger cities of the East 
seems to show that except for the unexcelled private gardens, Bos- 
ton was lagging in horticulture. In 1822 John Lowell said, 77 " We 
are utterly destitute, in New England, of nurseries for fruit trees 
on an extensive scale. We have no cultivators on whom we can call 
for a supply of the most common plants of the smaller fruits, such 
as strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries, of the superior kinds; 
we have no place to which we can go for plants to ornament our 
grounds; we have not a single seedsman who can furnish us with 
fresh seeds of annual flowers on which we can place a reliance." 
Two years later, however, he said optimistically before the Massa- 
chusetts Society for Promoting Agrictulture, " As to horticulture, 
the field is newly explored. From a barren wilderness it has be- 
come a fertile garden. ... I remember when the Mayduke and 
the sour Kentish cherry could alone be seen in our market; and 
there is not now a market on earth better supplied than ours with 
every variety of the most delicious cherries. I remember when our 
strawberries were only gathered from the grass fields. I recollect 
the first boxes of cultivated strawberries ever sent to the Boston 
market; they are now in profusion, and of excellent quality, but 
still susceptible of vast improvement. Who ever heard of an Eng- 
lish or Dutch gooseberry or raspberry at market twenty-five years 
since? The Geniting, Cattern, Minot, and Iron pears, some of 
them execrable, were often seen; but not a single delicious variety 
was known out of the garden of the rich connoisseur. There never 

77 Mass. Ag. Rcpos., VII— 137; VIII— 216. Quoted by Manning. 


was a more rapid progress in any country than that which we have 
made in horticulture, and yet there is no one point in which we 
are so defective; I hope and believe, however, that we shall soon 
supply this defect." Did these last words, asks Manning, mean 
that the idea of a horticultural organization was definitely in 
Lowell's mind? It is hard to see what else they could have meant; 
but there is no room for doubt as to what the situation in Massa- 
chusetts called for, and Judge Buel of Albany directly suggested 
it in a letter to John B. Russell, publisher of the " New England 
Farmer." We cannot claim any one name to which we may affix 
the august title of Founder; but perhaps our foundations were the 
more secure and lasting because, as President Appleton once said, 
they were not so much due to strenuous endeavor as to normal 
and timely evolution, the simultaneous conception of the horticul- 
tural leaders of New England. In the words of General Dearborn, 
our first president, " It became apparent that a zealous coopera- 
tion of all persons interested in gardening was required for produc- 
ing a more general and speedy extension of scientific and practical 
knowledge in all its branches; and in the winter of 1829 a number 
of gentlemen of Boston 78 and the adjacent towns determined to 
attempt the establishment of a Horticultural Society for the ac- 
complishment of that very desirable object." 79 

78 Boston then contained about sixty thousand inhabitants, and Massachusetts 
about six hundred thousand. Manning, History, p. 63. 

79 Transactions, 1851. 


JOHN B. RUSSELL was the proprietor of the " New England 
Farmer," the office of which had in 1827 been established 
on the second floor of the building at 52 North Market 
Street. Upon the ground floor Russell had also opened a seed 
store, to which John Lowell, Elijah Vose and others interested in 
horticulture resorted; and the proximity of the agricultural pub- 
lication, under the editorship of Thomas Green Fessenden, soon 
made the store a natural gathering place where ideas could be ex- 
changed and discussed in a sympathetic atmosphere. Russell 
himself was, of course, from the first most deeply interested in 
such discussions, and to no one other person was the successful 
launching of the Horticultural Society so largely due. Judge Buel 
of Albany had, we remember, directly suggested to Russell a so- 
ciety in Boston; and when Zebedee Cook, Jr., a prosperous in- 
surance man of Dorchester and Boston, wrote in the " New Eng- 
land Farmer " extolling the art of horticulture and calling upon 
its votaries to organize, Fessenden at once endorsed the appeal 
editorially. The issue of February the twentieth, 1829, contained 
a " request " to those interested to meet at the office of Zebedee 
Cook, Jr., which was at 7^ Congress Street, five doors south of 
State. The day appointed, the twenty-fourth, turned out to be bit- 
terly cold, and a heavy snow-storm had filled the streets with 
huge drifts; but at noon, the hour appointed, sixteen 1 men had 
appeared, among them John Lowell, feeble in health, but wrapped 
up in extra blankets and brought by his neighbor Cheever Newhall 
in his sleigh. 2 A discouraging time, it would seem, to think of hor- 
ticulture; but perhaps the fancy cherished by our fathers that the 
rigor of the New England climate served to call out and develop 

1 Lowell, Dearborn, Cook, S. Downer, J. B. Russell, Enoch Bartlett, C. New- 
hall, R. Manning, J. M. Ives, Andrews Breed, Henry A. Breed, and five others who 
H. A. Breed, fifty years later, thought were William Kenrick, Jonathan Winship, 
Robert L. Emmons, Benjamin V. French, and William H. Sumner. 

2 Tilton's Journal of Horticulture, VII— 88. 


the best characteristics of man is at this moment more to the 
point. The meeting was called to order by General H. A. S. Dear- 
born. John Lowell was chosen Moderator, and Zebedee Cook, Jr., 

was made Secretary. 

The first action was the appointment of a committee, H. A. S. 
Dearborn. Zebedee Cook. Jr.. and Samuel Downer, to prepare a 
Constitution and By-Laws for the Society, and another of John B. 
Russell. Enoch Bartlett, Zebedee Cook. Jr.. Samuel Downer and 
Cheever Xewhall to obtain subscribers. On the seventeenth of 
March at a meeting held in the same place, a draft of the Consti- 
tution and By-Laws was reported and unanimously adopted, and 
the Society organized by the election of the following officers: 
President, H. A. S. Dearborn, of Roxbury: Vice-presidents, Zebe- 
dee Cook. Jr.. of Roxbury. John C. Gray, of Boston. Robert Man- 
ning, of Salem, and Enoch Bartlett. of Roxbury; Treasurer, 
Cheever Xewhall. of Boston: Corresponding Secretary. Jacob 
Bigelow. of Boston: Recording Secretary. Robert L. Emmons, of 
Boston: and a Council of thirty-eight, representative of towns and 
cities from Worcester to Plymouth, and especially Boston. Rox- 
bury and Dorchester. Over a hundred and sixty names of subscrib- 
ers were reported by the other committee. " without extraordi- 
nary exertions to induce gentlemen to become members," says 
the "New England Farmer": which, however, bids the public 
note that the ranks are not full. — that there is yet room. 

The Constitution provided for the officers named above, with 
not less than two vice-presidents, to be elected annually. The 
President's duties included that of calling extra meetings when re- 
quested to do so by any five members. The Corresponding Secre- 
tary was to prepare all letters to be written in the name of the 
Society, and to conduct its correspondence: and the Recording 
Secretary to keep the minutes of the proceedings. Elections were 
to be by ballot, and candidates proposed and voted for only at a 
stated meeting. Any member neglecting to pay his annual assess- 
ment was given a year's leeway. — afterwards increased to three 
— at the end of which time his membership ceased. The stated 
meetings were to be held on the first Saturday of March, of June, 
of September and of December. At any such meeting amendments 
to the Constitution might be proposed, entered on the minutes, 


read, stated for discussion at the next stated meeting, and if voted 
for by three-fourths of the members present, recorded as part of 
the Constitution. The anniversary of the Society was to be ob- 
served on the third Saturday of each September, — an arrange- 
ment which brought the first celebration only six months from 
organization, September the nineteenth, 1829, and from this the 
anniversaries and annual exhibitions held in connection with them 
have been numbered. 

The By-Laws named the third Saturday of September as Elec- 
tion Day, and the next stated meeting thereafter as the date upon 
which those elected should enter upon their duties. Ten days' 
previous notice and at least thirteen members present were neces- 
sary for an election, and in default of the necessary number, the 
election was to be adjourned to some day prior to the next stated 
meeting, and held regardless of the number present. Vacancies in 
any office by death or resignation were to be filled at the next 
stated meeting by a majority of the members present. The Coun- 
cil was to consist of not less than twenty-four members, of which 
all the officers of the Society were to be ex-officio members, and 
five members were to constitute a quorum. The presence of the 
Corresponding Secretary was required at all meetings to keep min- 
utes of their proceedings. The Council was to convene whenever 
occasion demanded, and all questions decided by a majority of 
votes. To it belonged the power of making by-laws and regula- 
tions, subject always to the approval of a two-thirds majority at 
stated meetings. All " communications " to the Society were to be 
referred to the consideration of the Council, and by it published or 
" otherwise disposed of." The bestowal of " rewards " upon those 
who had " either by frequent communications . . . deemed 
worthy of publication in the transactions, or by having made im- 
portant additions to the science of horticulture, or by diligence in 
the service of the Society merited distinction " was the most inter- 
esting specific function of the Council. They were empowered to 
award premiums for the " invention or discovery of any new 
matter in horticulture, or some important improvement therein, or 
for the exhibition to the Society of any fruits, vegetables or plants 
of their growth or cultivation, and either new in their kind or of 
uncommon excellence as to quality; or for any new and successful 


method of cultivating any kind of esculent vegetables, fruits, orna- 
mental flowers or ornamental shrubs, or trees, or any other sub- 
jects connected with horticulture. Provided that seeds, cuttings, 
scions or plants shall have been given to the Society for distribu- 
tion, and the fruit, vegetables or plants have been exhibited at 
some one of the meetings of the Society." Rewards or premiums 
were to be given to those entitled to them by the presiding officer 
at the next stated meeting. A further duty of the Council was to 
provide at the stated meeting before election a list of those whom 
they recommended as officers and members of the Council for the 
ensuing year. Other by-laws determined the sum of five dollars as 
an entrance fee, with the option at any time of paying thirty dol- 
lars for future contribution; but " any person exercising the trade 
or profession of a gardener " was to be admitted to membership 
upon payment of two dollars as an admission fee, and one dollar 
each year as contribution, " provided that such person had received 
any reward from the Society, communicated a paper which had 
been read at a general meeting, and deemed worthy of publication, 
or who had been recommended by the Council." The usual annual 
assessment was two dollars. Elaborate provision was made for 
honorary and corresponding members, whose cooperation was 
greatly desired by the new Society; for the former were to consist 
of persons distinguished in any country for their attainments in 
horticulture, and the latter for their skill and knowledge in the 
science. Both were to be proposed only by the Council at the 
stated meetings, and required a two-thirds vote to be elected. 
The last of the thirty-one articles provides for lecturers on botany 
and vegetable physiology, on entomology in its relation to horti- 
culture, and on horticultural chemistry. 

On the twenty-eighth of April, the Society petitioned for an act 
of incorporation, which was granted by the General Court and 
approved on the twelfth of June by Governor Lincoln, " for the 
purpose of encouraging and improving the science and practice of 
Horticulture, and promoting the amelioration of the various spe- 
cies of trees, fruits, plants and vegetables, and the introduction of 
new species and varieties." Until now Zebedee Cook's office on the 
first floor of 7^ Congress Street had served conveniently for the 
meetings ; but by the ninth of June the increasing number of mem- 


bers had made other quarters necessary, and on that date the lit- 
tle Society held its first meeting in a room on the third story of 
the Market Street building. Here the first exhibitions were held, 3 
and no doubt here also was the first home of that library " to com- 
prise all the standard works on Horticulture, as well as the vari- 
ous periodical publications devoted to the subject, now published 
in Europe and the United States " which was to become the finest 
of its kind in the world. From the windows one could see Faneuil 
Hall on the right, the Quincy Market building on the left, and 
through Merchants' Row a bit of State Street. The seal — though 
yet without its " commune bonum " 4 — had been adopted; to the 
competent J. B. Russell, general agent, was consigned the care of 
all " donations of seeds, scions, roots, drawings of fruits, models 
of implements of use in horticulture, or donations to the Library "; 
and the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, under the guidance 
and with the devoted service of men who represented all that is 
best in New England, began its long career of incalculable public 

General Henry Alexander Scammell Dearborn was a man of 
much influence in the community, and was doubtless chosen presi- 
dent almost as much for that reason as for his interest in horti- 
culture. This influence he exerted continually and effectively. His 
estate of eighty acres in Roxbury comprised a house and grounds 
constructed on the English plan by its former owner, and he per- 
sonally began early to contribute to the Society's exhibitions. His 
address to the Society at the celebration of their first " anniver- 
sary," on September the nineteenth, 1829, was an earnest, care- 
fully prepared exposition and history of horticulture, presented in 
style and form adapted to listeners of liberal education, and cer- 
tainly less suggestive of the sermon or formal oration than those 

3 The first exhibition was composed of several ears of sweet corn, a new variety 
from Portland, from General Dearborn; from G. W. Pratt, Watertown. several 
dahlias, among which the Coccinea superba, helianthia flora, and the Royal Sover- 
eign (purple) were considered superior to any seen in the vicinity of Boston; one 
of the flowers measured 5$ inches in diameter. From Z. Cook, Jr., several specimens 
of althaea nigra and flava, " very elegant." From Rufus Howe, several varieties of 
marigolds, dahlias and lilies. From N. Davenport, Milton, specimens of early vege- 

4 The name of the Society and the date of incorporation were added by vote of 
June 5, 1847, as was the motto. 


of some of his successors. With its help we may reconstruct a per- 
sonality of commanding enthusiasms under the perfect control of 
good sense, and of great refinement and dignity; and when to this 
we add the respect and affection he inspired in his contemporaries, 
his peculiar fitess for the leadership of the new Society is apparent. 
He was reelected president until he resigned on the tenth of Sep- 
tember, 1834. 

Zebedee Cook, Jr., and Samuel Downer were both Dorchester 
men. Cook's estate covered about twenty-five acres, with flowers 
and fruit on its southerly slope, flowers on the terraced rear, and a 
farm on a stretch of land which fell gradually away to the salt 
marshes. Downer owned one of the best stocked estates in the 
neighborhood of Boston, a terraced slope facing southeast, on 
which were very rare fruit trees, some flowering plants, and bee- 
hives at the foot of the declivity. Here was the birthplace of the 
famous Downer cherry. Cheever Newhall also lived in Dorchester, 
and cultivated about a hundred acres of farming tracts. In the 
homestead portion of about twenty-five acres were flourishing 
orchards devoted principally to pear trees, of which there were 
several hundred. Newhall was a man of great enterprise and pub- 
lic spirit, and for several years served the Society as Treasurer 
and Vice-president. Enoch Bartlett, one of the framers of the 
Constitution of the Society, possessed an estate in Roxbury very 
much like Downer's in Dorchester in the matter of valuable fruit 
trees, and here was first produced the incomparable Bartlett pear. 
John C. Gray, a lawyer interested in city politics, was also an 
enthusiastic horticulturist, as his address at the fifth anniversary 
in 1833 will show. He had in Cambridge large fruit orchards, grew 
many fruits under glass, and cultivated roses and many rare and 
beautiful trees. 5 In his interesting " Essays, Agricultural and Lit- 
erary," he seems to controvert successfully the somewhat wide- 
spread fancy that the New England climate had changed since the 
early settlement of New England. 

A glance at the list of members, — and by the middle of Sep- 
tember it had lengthened to 249 — discloses the names of many 
Boston men prominent for their scientific interests, public useful- 
ness, or wealth. With them, and united to them by that community 

5 Letter from Mrs. Henry D. Tudor. 




of interest which in horticulture seems effectively to level superfi- 
cial distinctions, were many practical cultivators of the more pro- 
gressive sort, attracted in some degree perhaps by Russell's little 
notice in the " New England Farmer," which said that scions of 
valuable fruits and seeds of rare vegetables presented to the So- 
ciety would be distributed gratuitously to members, and to mem- 
bers only. The distribution of members on the first printed list of 
two hundred and seventeen names is interesting. Boston led, with 
fifty-four, followed by Roxbury with thirty-six, Salem with 
twenty-one, Dorchester with twenty, Cambridge with eight, and 
Brookline, Milton and Lexington with five each. Four, including 
Governor Levi Lincoln, lived in Worcester; and Plymouth and 
Providence supplied one each. Two lived in Bucksport, Maine. 
The honorary membership included John Quincy Adams, Andrew 
Jackson, then President of the United States, James Madison, 
John Munroe, and of course many of the prominent figures in 
other horticultural societies here and abroad. The corresponding 
members, chosen with more of an eye perhaps to immediate useful- 
ness, included United States consuls in various parts of the world, 
whose interest in the Society would be of great use in introducing 
new things. 

On the twenty-fourth of March the Council had appointed three 
committees to take charge of everything relating to fruit trees 
and fruits and the recommending of objects for premiums; the 
culture and products of the kitchen garden; and ornamental trees, 
shrubs, flowers and greenhouses. Ten dollars was to be the first 
prize for the " best nursery of Apple Trees of the most approved 
kinds of fruit, not less than one thousand in number, and not less 
than two years old from the budding or grafting." Similar 
premiums were set for pear and peach trees, and five dollars for 
cherry, plum and apricot. Ten dollars was also the premium for 
the most successful cultivation of the American Holly and the best 
flowering plants of the Magnolia Glauca, and there were smaller 
prizes for the Rhododendron Maximum, the Kalmia Latifolia, 
Chinese Chrysanthemums, Tulips, Hyacinths, Ranunculus, Auric- 
ulas, Anemones, Pinks, Carnations, Roses, Dahlias, and Camel- 
lia Japonica; but the only products of the kitchen garden to be 
considered worthy of a premium higher than two dollars were po- 


tatoes and celery — four dollars for each — a proportion which 
has persisted, and occasionally disturbed the later vegetable com- 
mittees, who at times have protested vigorously, as we shall see, 
because of what they considered the scant respect shown to these, 
the most necessary of the products of the soil. 

The Saturday exhibitions were an evolution. Robert L. Em- 
mons, the Recording Secretary, began to bring to the meetings a 
small bouquet of " modest flowers," and others soon followed his 
example, doubtless with the idea of adornment rather than of ex- 
hibition. The first recorded exhibition at a meeting took place on 
the twentieth of June, 1829, and was pronounced " respectable "; 
it included about thirty varieties of roses, and a basket of Pine- 
apple strawberries from the Winships. This suggested and encour- 
aged the idea of exhibiting anything unusually fine; and at such an 
exhibition in July appeared the Downer cherry. More curious 
plants and flowers, carnations, dahlias and roses, besides vegeta- 
bles, were brought to the show of the first of August, and were men- 
tioned and commented upon by the " New England Farmer," 
which later became the appointed recorder of the Society's trans- 
actions. On the twenty-ninth of August S. R. Johnson showed 
Washington plums six and a quarter inches in circumference. The 
exhibitions steadily increased in interest, greatly aided by the 
friendly spirit of emulation which of course arose at once; and an- 
other matter which insistently demanded attention brought speci- 
mens to the hall: the great confusion in the names of fruits. In 
order to establish synonyms it was announced to be desirable that 
specimens should be sent in their season for examination, and also 
valuable native varieties. Through long years afterwards the mat- 
ter of nomenclature demanded the attention of our horticulturists, 
and as late as 1903 we find Professor F. A. Waugh lamenting in a 
lecture before the Society the backwardness of the science of po- 
mology in this respect. It may be added that both Mannings did 
yeoman's service in this field. 

The first " anniversary " of the Society was celebrated on Sat- 
urday, the nineteenth of September, 1829. President Dearborn's 
address, which was delivered in the picture gallery of the Athe- 
naeum at three o'clock, proclaimed that horticulture could now be 
called a successful rival of agriculture, which always comes first 


in civilization; but significantly pointed out that in horticulture 
practice had been too long estranged from scientific theory, — 
that each had its disciples, but that there was no recognition of 
affinity between the two. The address was a call to arms, and a 
very definite one; it was clearly prophetic of the efforts towards 
experimentation and education which, though they did not result 
immediately as the Society hoped and expected, perhaps did bet- 
ter; for they helped to bring about the establishment of Mount 
Auburn, — a connection which President Saltonstall years later 
justly described as one of the most fortunate events in our finan- 
cial history. The hall of the Exchange Coffee House, the largest 
hall in Boston, where the dinner was to be held, was so crowded 
with visitors from twelve o'clock until two that the Committee of 
Arrangements reproached themselves for not having provided a 
larger one. It was festooned with flowers hung from the chande- 
liers; and the tables were laden with orange trees in fruit and 
flower, a large variety of dahlias, splendid roses, bouquets, and 
baskets of grapes, peaches, pears, melons and apples. " The show 
of fruits and flowers generally was probably never surpassed in 
New England," says the writer in the Society's record, — at 
which President Strong from the vantage point of years later 
somewhat unkindly remarked that as the aborigines were not 
formidable rivals, and the settlers had no time, doubtless he was 
right. The report mentions the Cushing pear which the Society 
had brought to public notice; and though it would be " unpleasant 
to make any invidious comparisons where all exhibited such satis- 
factory specimens," the writer cannot refrain from commending 
particularly the " grapes of Mr. Cook and Mr. Fosdick, raised in 
the open air, and the greenhouse grapes of Messrs. Dean, Per- 
kins, and Sullivan." The Bloodgood and the Urbaniste pears were 
also shown. 

Conformably to the cautious custom of a century ago, the mem- 
bers and guests sat down to dinner at four o'clock. There were 
nearly a hundred and sixty, among them Thomas L. Winthrop, 
Harrison Gray Otis, and Daniel Webster. The dinner was briefly 
described as " sumptuous "; and the " regular w and " volunteer " 
toasts, faithfully recorded, have a delightful human interest, with 
their formal piety, elaborate personification, and dreadful pun- 


ning. Serious attention is of course paid to the subject of horticul- 
ture, and then, drifting into the lighter mood by way of the 
Garden of Eden, — for one speaker reminded his hearers that 
God made the first garden and Cain built the first city, — the vol- 
unteer toasts tended towards " lovely woman," — who was not 
represented at the feast, though it should be noted that Zebedee 
Cook, Jr., and others had felt obliged to call upon the ladies of 
their families to decorate the hall. John Prince's toast was " The 
wedding we this day celebrate, the union of hearty culture and 
horticulture. May the pair be ever held as choice as the apple of 
our eye." Perhaps such examples as this will let us forgive the 
weakness of the gentle Autocrat, who had just been graduated 
from Harvard. A song of eleven eight-line stanzas was written for 
the occasion and sung by Mr. Finn, of the Tremont Theatre. The 
fourth and the eleventh stanzas will certainly be enough to quote: 

" Fairest of Eden's flowers, 
Was woman, ere farewell, Sirs, 
She bade to Eden's fruit, 
The fatal nonpareil, Sirs. 
Here's woman! from the time 
Creation's pencil drew lips, 
And the breathings of the Rose, 
That lives upon her two-lips. 

" Then may Life's evening sun, 
In setting be serene, Sirs ; 
Time well employed — in Age 
Will make us evergreen, Sirs ; 
And when the pruning-knife — 
From feather or from cot-bed — 
Transplants us to the soil, 
May we escape a HOT-BED." 

It has often been remarked that a luncheon or a dinner is a most 
effective means of promoting mutual understanding and friendship 
in business. It is at least worth noting that this first banquet was 
a complete success in every sense, — a spontaneous thanksgiving 
for results already attained, and a pledge for the future. It brought 
the members of the Society together on that friendly footing which 
perhaps more than any other one factor explains the loyalty which 
has weathered every storm. 

Chapter III ■ 1830. MT. AUBURN 

EXHIBITIONS continued in 1829 until the coming of win- 
ter, and improved steadily in size and quality. They were 
resumed on the fifteenth of May, 1830, when for the first 
time premiums were awarded. The tulips offered by A. Aspinwall 
and thirty varieties of Ranunculus Asiaticus by the Messrs. Pratt 
were the winners; and the report of this display brought " many 
ladies as well as gentlemen " a week later to another " very grati- 
fying " exhibition. This increase in interest, and especially the 
products submitted for examination, had the result of defining and 
systematizing the duties of the committees on fruits, vegetables, 
flowers, and synonyms; for the Council itself had proved un- 
wieldy, and had appointed standing committees. On June the 
nineteenth Keens' seedling strawberry was introduced by David 
Haggerston, — himself one of the first of a worthy human Ameri- 
can product of which Jackson Dawson was the flower. On July the 
twenty-fourth, Williams, Benoni, Porter, Hubbardston, Nonsuch 
and Gravenstein apples made their first appearance. Apricots, nec- 
tarines, and plums were well represented throughout the season, 
and of course grapes and pears, among the last a large specimen 
of the Duchesse d'Angouleme. Flowers could not at this period 
hold their own with the fruits ; but the geranium, rose and chrysan- 
themum were well represented by many varieties, and premiums 
were awarded for excellent specimens of these and of tulips, hya- 
cinths, ranunculus, well-cultivated native flowers, dahlias, pinks 
and carnations — two dollars in each case. Vegetables did not re- 
ceive so much attention; but we note that on the twenty-eighth of 
August Captain Smith of Quincy exhibited a sample of " a kind of 
manure from Peru called by the Spaniards guano." 

The second anniversary was celebrated on the tenth of Sep- 
tember, again at the Exchange Coffee House, and was undamp- 
ened by the " unpropitious state of the weather." The order of the 
day was the same as before, the gifts of flowers and fruits being 


" arranged in a very chaste and appropriate manner," and the 
hall crowded with admiring visitors from noon until two o'clock. 
At four, members and guests sat down to a dinner " prepared by- 
Mr. Gallagher " — for why should Mr. Gallagher be forgotten? 
— and even the most serious subjects glowed with gentle humor : 
" The Constitution of the United States — the vigor of the stock 
will soon correct the saplings that may be engrafted on it "; " Dif- 
fusion of kind and of kindness — Our grapes can never be sour, 
for they will be within the reach of everybody." Perhaps Judge 
Story, unable through illness to attend, best described the occa- 
sion by his communicated sentiment, — " The pleasures of the 
day — the fruits of good taste and the taste of good fruits." The 
gathering included many distinguished men, and it is not strange 
that the poem by Editor T. G. Fessenden, " The Course of Cul- 
ture," sung to the tune of " Auld Lang Syne," seems an improve- 
ment on that of the first occasion, although it cannot be said to 
have covered so much ground. 

The address was delivered at eleven o'clock, before the dinner, 
in the lecture room of the Athenaeum, by Zebedee Cook, Jr., one 
of the vice-presidents. He rejoiced in the success of the Society, 
and put his finger at once upon the cause: " interests too closely 
identified with the general good, as well as with individual com- 
fort and happiness, to allow us to waver in our exertions." He re- 
capitulated the salutary physical, mental and moral effects of the 
pursuit of horticulture, pointing out the qualities necessary to suc- 
cess; and then spoke specifically and at length on some of the 
better methods of procedure, and of the more formidable enemies, 
such as the cankerworm and the curculio, " the most crafty of the 
insect race." Doubtless some of the hopes for the future expressed 
in his eloquent address — public nurseries, the protection of use- 
ful birds, rural architecture — seemed in their enthusiasm vision- 
ary, to his hearers; but to the reader today they sound prophetic. 
He closed by directing attention to a subject which he had " long 
wished to see presented to their consideration," — the establish- 
ment of a public cemetery in the suburbs of Boston. 

Dr. Jacob Bigelow, the Corresponding Secretary, had several 
years before the founding of the Society become professionally 
interested in the increasingly embarrassing conditions caused by 

<Lfic c if ttctssit chilacttS 'ISortiriilfuval §>ocictn i)~ 


\ID( ( t \.\v 




the burial of the dead in the city. He was at this time Professor of 
the Application of Science to the Arts of Life in Harvard College, 
and has been described as a man of great learning, very deliber- 
ate in utterance, of varied attainments in general science and of 
highest rank as a physician. 1 The example of Pere La Chaise out- 
side of Paris naturally suggested itself to a man of his rural tastes; 
but heretofore it had been impossible for him and those interested 
with him to overcome the obstacles inseparable from such a pro- 
ject: public sentiment and tradition were not insurmountable ones, 
for it was evident that some change was necessary; but there were 
others, the most formidable of which was the question of funds 
and of a suitable location. After the founding of the Horticultural 
Society, however, the matter of an experimental garden had at 
once begun to engage the thoughts of the ambitious members; it 
had been a cherished project with General Dearborn, and like 
that of the rural cemetery, had been delayed by the question of 
necessary funds. Conferring on both subjects, General Dearborn 
and Dr. Bigelow conceived the plan of uniting them; and when 
George W. Brimmer, who owned a tract of land in Cambridge 
called " Sweet Auburn " — a name given it by two poetic Harvard 
students who had found it a charming place for the afternoon's 
walk — proposed that it should be taken by the Society, General 
Dearborn visited it to find out whether it would answer the two 
purposes. Brimmer having himself purchased the land for a coun- 
try residence, planted many trees, and constructed extensive ave- 
nues, its suitability was at once apparent. President Dearborn 
was fully satisfied, and immediately composed a memoir explan- 
atory of ways, means and objects, which was submitted to those 
citizens who would probably cooperate. The ambitious plan in- 
cluded, besides the cemetery and the garden, a botanical garden 
and an institution for the education of scientific and practical gar- 
deners. Thirty or forty favorable responses led to a special meet- 
ing and the appointment of a committee, — which in June, 1831, 
was authorized to seek outside aid, and to petition the legislature 
for the act necessary to enable the Society to hold real estate for 
the purposes of a cemetery. In the report recommending the pur- 
chase of the land, dated June the eleventh, 1831, the sum of six 

1 Transactions, Jan. 14, i883. 


thousand dollars is named as the cost of the seventy-two acres, 
and the method of raising it a subscription for the lots. The fee 
of the land was to be vested in the Horticultural Society, of which 
every subscriber was to become a life member. 

General Dearborn, in his report for the Committee, outlined the 
work of the Society up to this point, — the collection and dis- 
semination of intelligence, plants, scions and seeds, the establish- 
ment of the Library, the exhibitions, — which, besides being pos- 
sible without extensive funds, had been essential in order to make 
the Society at once useful and popular. Interest had been fully 
aroused, a spirit of inquiry awakened, and a " powerful impulse to 
all branches of rural industry given, far beyond the most sanguine 
hopes." The time was now ripe for the experimental garden; 
similar establishments in Europe had long been successful. After 
due attention to the cemetery, and a careful survey of precedent 
for rural sepulture, he elaborated a plan for the experimental gar- 
den so comprehensive that, as President Hovey expressed it thirty- 
five years later, all the income from the cemetery in its present 
prosperous condition would hardly have supported it. He over- 
looked the fact that abroad the experimental gardens were sus- 
tained by the aid of the government. We may advantageously an- 
ticipate events at this point by saying that the plan of establish- 
ing such a garden was almost religiously cherished for many 
years 2 by the members of the Society, who patiently waited until 
the financial path should be clear; but as the years passed and the 
experimental stations came into existence, the need faded and 
finally was fully obliterated by other means. We may reflect that 
Benjamin Bussey was an early member of the Society, as was 
James Arnold, who gave the fund to which the Arboretum owes 
its establishment. These two men, and M. P. Wilder, who did most 
towards the founding of the Agriculture College at Amherst, 
surely enable the Society to claim that institutions for instruction 
in horticulture have been created through its influence. 

But the report was enthusiastically accepted, and authority 
voted to proceed. The Honorable Edward Everett was called upon 
to prepare an address for the information of the public, and this 

2 In 1859 — twenty-five years later — President Breck expressed the hope that 
the Society could soon carry out its " favorite design." 


was published in the Boston papers. It of course emphasized the 
necessity of a change in the matter of sepulture, turned conserva- 
tive tendencies into a favorable argument by indicating the lack 
of decent space in the city, exhaustively adduced Biblical and 
modern foreign precedent, and described the charming forest land, 
already almost perfectly fitted by nature for the purpose, as also 
a rural spot attractive in itself to a " man of reflection and serious 
temper." The only reference to the Horticultural Society was that 
being connected with the experimental garden, the cemetery would 
be under the constant inspection of its gardener, and thus receive 
attention and care not usually found in places of burial. The act 
permitting the Society to carry out the project was passed on the 
twenty-third of June, 1831, and plans for the consecration were 
at once made. 

The consecration was held on the twenty-fourth of September, 
1 83 1, in the presence of nearly two thousand people. A temporary 
amphitheatre had been constructed in one of the deep woodland 
Mt. Auburn glens, with a platform decorated with evergreens for 
the orator, clergy, and officers of the Society, and with seats on 
one of the slopes for the orchestra and the choristers. The sky was 
cloudless, and the sun sent its beams through the rustling leaves 
of the great trees on the surrounding heights over the silent assem- 
bly as the Rev. Dr. Ware delivered the opening prayer. Through 
the quaint, flowery description in the Society's report is clearly 
seen the deep impression made by this striking ceremony in its 
beautiful setting of woods and sky. At twelve o'clock a proces- 
sion was formed of the officers of the Society as an escort to the 
orator and officiating clergy, which, preceded by the band, entered 
the rostrum. An original hymn, composed for the occasion by the 
Rev. Mr. Pierpont, was sung by the whole assembly; and the 
oration, delivered by the Honorable Joseph Story, was character- 
ized by deep and genuine feeling, solemnly expressive of the sacred 
purpose and significance of the new venture. 

It is unnecessary for our purpose to go into the innumerable de- 
tails and committees involved in the establishment of Mt Auburn. 
The Egyptian gateway with its lodges soon was installed, and a 
fence seven feet high enclosed the whole. 3 The experimental gar- 

3 The grtnite tower was not erected until E853. 


den, covering an area of over thirty acres, was laid out, and a cot- 
tage erected for the superintendent and gardener, David Haggers- 
ton, who was to enter upon his duties the first of March. No pains 
were spared by President Dearborn, who sent at once to Paris 
and London for literature on cemeteries and funeral monuments ; 
and upon receiving three publications in the French language, he 
translated from one of them parts of an historical and descriptive 
account of Pere la Chaise. In September, 1832, he spoke with some 
anxiety of the necessity of not delaying in the matter of the gar- 
den, and mentioned the suggestion to obtain funds by subscrip- 
tion instead of waiting for the proceeds of the cemetery lots. A 
year later the area of the cemetery was increased by a purchase of 
land to a hundred and ten acres, — another fortunate transaction. 
Trouble arose through the free access to the entire grounds which 
had been granted to the public, and some regulation became nec- 
essary; but it is very interesting to note that " many persons be- 
came purchasers of lots, and others were known to be ready 
to purchase, for the sake of enjoying the privilege of entering 
the grounds with a vehicle," — twelve or fifteen hundred 
dollars' worth of lots having been disposed of in this way. The 
writer adds that though this result was no part of the design of the 
Committee in establishing the regulation, they hoped the latter 
would in the interests of the cemetery meet the approval of the 

The garden was fairly started, in spite of slender funds. The 
gifts of plants and seeds formerly distributed to members now 
went into the hands of David Haggerston, who was able in June, 
1833, to distribute some of the results to the members. Upon 
Haggerston's resignation a year later, J. W. Russell became gar- 
dener and superintendent, and continued to exhibit specimens of 
its progress at the Society's hall. But in spite of the great enthusi- 
asm of President Dearborn — who had now been obliged to 
abandon his original idea of an educational institution for garden- 
ers — the garden was destined through unforeseen causes not to 
endure. Whether Mt. Auburn, with its " splendid garden," was too 
attractive to " those who had the privilege of entering," including 
perhaps those whose real interest in the spot was the garden alone, 


or whether as Robert Manning, Jr., suggests, 4 and as seems nat- 
ural, some owners of cemetery lots disliked the idea of an ex- 
perimental garden in such a place, the two interests began to 
draw in opposite directions. As these owners increased in number, 
their influence as life members of the Society became stronger. 
The inevitable result was a division of interest in the Society, and 
consequent disagreement as to the proper proportional application 
of the funds; and the tension had already become pronounced 
when a committee took up the question of whether a disposal of 
the Society's interest in the cemetery to the owners of lots should 
be made, and if so upon what terms. After many stormy meetings 
in December, 1834. a separation of the two interests was amicably 
agreed upon early in January, and a deed of conveyance later 
made out to the proprietors of Mt. Auburn. By it the Society 
was to receive yearly one-fourth of the proceeds from the Ceme- 
tery after fourteen hundred dollars had been deducted for the 
latter's expenses; and although a disagreement arose years after- 
wards when the Cemetery acquired new land, the Society agreed, 
in 1858, to assume a proportional share of the expenses, and the 
same arrangement long continued in existence, a source of great 
financial advantage to both parties. In 19 10, however, the relations 
were finally changed by action following a communication from 
the Mount Auburn Corporation in regard to the Society's joining 
in the purchase of additional land; and on April third it was de- 
cided not to participate. It was not clear from the terms of the 
original contract that the Society could not be required to join; 
but in any case the Mount Auburn Corporation was not disposed 
to insist, and was willing to modify the contract in such a way as 
to put the matter beyond doubt. A committee investigated the 
whole subject, and the result was a vote to cancel the old con- 
tract of December the eighteenth, 1858, and to substitute one of 
October the eighth, 19 10, by which the Society continued to re- 
ceive one-fourth of the income of the Cemetery as then estab- 
lished, and relinquished any income of any new lands or of any 
columbaria now built or to be built, in consideration that it 

4 History of the M. H. S., p. 100. It should be remembered that Manning- 
father was one of the founders. 


should pay no cost of them. Thus finally disappeared all danger 
of being called upon for a large amount of money, and all ques- 
tions were settled. An odd and somewhat inexplicable incident in 
connection with the founding of Mt. Auburn was the receipt by 
the Society about thirty years after the founding of the Cemetery 
of a letter from Dr. Bigelow in which he pointed out that notwith- 
standing his constant and gratuitous labors, and notwithstanding 
the fact that he was " the only individual without whom Mount 
Auburn would never have existed, nor the funds realized with 
which Horticultural Hall had been built," all mention of his 
name had been avoided in the late publications, discourses and rec- 
ords of the Society, and the credit given to others who had been 
his collaborators. It is needless to say that resolutions were at 
once adopted which corrected the omission, and left no doubt of 
the Society's appreciation and gratitude. 

Thus a great work for the good of the community had been ac- 
complished as soon as the Society was fairly founded. Prominent 
among those who by native sense and patient tolerance guided it 
through the dangerous places was a young man who had joined 
the Society in 1830, — Marshall Pinckney Wilder, of Boston. 

Chapter IV ■ 1831-1833. JOY'S BUILDING 

EARLY in March, 1830, the need of larger quarters had be- 
gun to be felt. A fruitless search for better ones occupied 
another year, and it was not until the seventh of May, 
1 83 1, that the Society met in Joy's Building, where the two con- 
nected rooms, after another door had been cut between them, 
could be converted into a respectably large hall. Here the weekly 
shows were held as before. The festival came on the twenty-first 
of September, and was this year held at Concert Hall, amid the 
usual tempting donations of pears, peaches, grapes, apples and 
melons. The address by Dr. Malthus A. Ward, the Society's pro- 
fessor of botany and vegetable physiology, was delivered in the 
Athenaeum lecture room, and is interesting, like Cook's, for its 
definite presentation of the problems and possibilities. He declared 
that the period for the study of landscape gardening had now 
dawned in America, and instanced as an evidence of it the strongly 
marked influence of the Society not only around the residences 
of its members, but throughout New England. There had been a 
decided increase in greenhouse plants, such as camellias, Musa 
coccinea, Hoya carnosa, and Maranta zebrina. Never had there 
been so much inquiry for ornamental trees and for the choicer 
kinds of fruits among people of all classes. The dinner followed the 
established tradition. Two hundred were present; and as it was 
only three days before the dedication of Mt. Auburn, we find the 
latter one of the regular toasts. Others were less solemn, and the 
occasion was as before a spontaneous festival of good fellowship. 
In April, 1829, a library committee had been appointed to care 
for all books, drawings and engravings, but its principal function 
was to see to the publication of communications and reports, and 
to recommend premiums for drawings of fruits and flowers and 
plans of " country houses and other edifices and structures con- 
nected with horticulture." Robert Manning, whose experience 
with his pomological garden at Salem gave him an unusual sense 


of the value of systematic investigation, a month later presented 
the Society with several books of practical value, and this gift 
should be regarded as the corner stone of the Society's library. 
Other such gifts at once followed from John Lowell, Samuel 
Downer and others; and President Dearborn requested horticul- 
turists abroad to keep him supplied with lists of desirable new 
publications. The Society's financial resources were at this time 
limited to entrance fees and assessments; yet substantial sums 
were voted, and in August, 1 831, we find listed in the " New Eng- 
land Farmer " a hundred and twelve titles, making a hundred and 
ninety volumes of the sort which the large majority of the mem- 
bers could neither have obtained nor afforded for themselves. The 
education of the gardener was one of the first considerations ; but 
it was not long before " this aim became merged into the larger 
one of a model horticultural library " for all time, and " with this 
new ambition the collecting of books became an end in itself." 1 
Progress was at first slow, for in 1854, when the next catalogue 
was printed, there were only four hundred and fourteen vol- 
umes. It is natural and distressing to find in the " New England 
Farmer " frequent notices of missing books. 

The year 1832 was very unfavorable to fruits; but the exhibits 
in the dining-hall on the third of October, the occasion of the 
fourth anniversary, were almost as good as usual, displaying, as 
the report says, " that dominion of mind over matter which mod- 
erates and modifies the untoward eccentricities of the elements." 
The discourse by Dr. Thaddeus William Harris, delivered at 
Masonic Temple, was a solid, exhaustive study in entomology 
which occupies fifty pages printed, and contained no flowers of 
rhetoric; but the subject was one of vital concern to his " respect- 
able and intelligent audience of ladies and gentlemen," and the 
dinner which followed at Concert Hall was perhaps the better en- 
joyed. The toasts were by no means confined to personal interests, 
but reflected national ones: New England; Rotation; Cattle 
Shows; Nullification; The Statesman; The Cause of Liberty in 
Europe; Heroes; and finally, " Woman/ like the Iris, indigenous 

1 M. H. S. Year Book for 1928. Lecture by Miss Ethelyn M. Tucker, April 1, 
1927. Miss Dorothy St. J. Manks's exhibits during the past year of the rare and 
curious volumes in the Library are good commentary on the attainment of this 


in all countries, — like the Rose, admired by all nations, — in 
modesty equalling the Cowslip, — in fidelity, the Honeysuckle, — 
in disposition, the Clematis; may she never suffer from approxi- 
mation to the Coxcomb, nor lose her reputation by familiarity with 
Bachelors' Buttons." The ode, written by Miss H. F. Gould, was 
pleasantly serious, but sincerely appropriate to the tone of the oc- 
casion. The names of most of the premium-winners in flowers for 
the year are already familiar to us: hyacinths and chrysanthe- 
mums, P. B. Hovey; tulips, Samuel Walker — a most passionate 
lover of flowers who was later to become president of the So- 
ciety; ranunculus and anemonies, David Haggerston; pinks, the 
Messrs. Winship; carnations, John Lemist; roses, Augustus As- 
pinwall; and dahlias, E. Putnam. The large exhibits of apples 
and pears during the fall foretell the dominant interest for many 
years to come. 

In January, 1833, we nn d presented, besides, " a very fine pear 
by Enoch Bartlett, Esq., called Brown St. Germain " and apples 
by Dr. Benjamin Shurtleff called Russet Sweeting and Smooth 
Skin Sweeting, a bottle of Scuppernong wine over thirteen years 
old, from the South. Occasional contributed articles or poems in 
the " New England Farmer " would seem enough to explain why 
any apparent inaction in regard to the cultivation of wine and to- 
bacco in New England might exist; though interest in the former 
possibility had been early shown by such men as President Dear- 
born, and Alexander H. Everett advocated its cultivation in his 
Fifth Anniversary address in 1833. The philippics against wine 
and tobacco coruscate with that deadly invective of which our 
fathers were masters when they felt sure they were right. In 
February came amongst others the apple called " Seek no fur- 
ther," — one of the first suggestions of the improprieties in no- 
menclature which later became occasionally so outrageous as to 
provoke legislation from all decorous societies, — and the Bel- 
mont, from Ohio, which at once received Manning's unqualified 
praise. A kind letter, also, was received from S. P. Hildreth of 
Marietta, Ohio, offering to send any seeds which might be wanted 
of native trees for Mt. Auburn, and accompanied by a package of 
seeds of the magnolia acuminata, a sympathetic interest which 
was later shared by several others at a distance, notablv Alex- 


ander Walsh, of Lansingburg, New York. On the fourth of May- 
were shown some beautiful specimens of yellow and white tea 
roses, and anemones, tulips and geraniums from the Charlestown 
Vineyard, by Thomas Mason; gifts of apple cuttings were re- 
ceived, and a few beans direct from Lima. Meanwhile President 
Dearborn had been pursuing in regard to horticultural products 
as well as to library books his self-imposed campaign of getting 
what was best from abroad, and on the eighteenth of May re- 
ported the results of correspondence to that end. From David 
Porter, the United States Charge d'Affaires at the Ottoman Porte, 
came seeds of the Turkish Guul Ibrischim, or Silk Tassel rose, as 
he interpreted it, and of the cypress, intended for Mt. Auburn; 
and from others, including the London Horticultural Society, came 
seeds of the Ptelea trifoliata, cauliflowers, artichokes, plums and 
apple scions, and even two pamphlets translated from the 
French on the use of chlorides of soda and lime. The report ended 
with an enthusiastic account of the experimental garden which 
was destined to end so soon — over thirteen hundred forest, 
ornamental and fruit trees laid out, culinary vegetables planted, 
hotbeds prepared, and seeds planted of over four hundred 
and fifty varieties of plants sent from Europe, Asia and South 

David Porter continued his gifts; and James Homer, of Ames- 
bury, sent for examination a half dozen bottles of salad oil manu- 
factured from sunflower seed, which he considered equal to any 
olive oil and could manufacture at the cost of the latter. Examina- 
tion subsequently confirmed this claim, and likewise proved that 
the oil burned well in a lamp with as little liability to smoke as 
spermaceti. The flower show of the first of June was good, largely 
through the general exhibit by Samuel Walker, the " sixty varie- 
ties of flowers " from the Winships, and a similar exhibit from 
John A. Kenrick. There were two boxes of Early Virginia and 
Royal Scarlet strawberries, " raised in open ground, ripe and fine 
flavored." On Mr. Winship's motion it was voted to sell the flowers 
at auction and to use the proceeds towards a monument to the 
memory of the late horticulturist, Robert Wyatt. The numerous 
and fine flowers at the next two exhibits were sold for the same 
object. Strawberries featured the mid- June show, and P. B. Hovey's 


Methven Castle, or Scarlet, was pronounced the largest and most 
splendid ever exhibited at the Hall. The flowers made perhaps 
the best exhibition of the season, largely through the Winships' 
one hundred and thirty-two varieties of splendid roses. Products 
of the kitchen garden appeared a week later, including mushrooms 
from T. Mason, Charlestown, and the Black Apple potato. Among 
the fruits were Black Tartarian cherries from E. Vose; and from 
P. B. Hovey the Methven Scarlet strawberry again, which was edi- 
torially described as of great excellence, " surpassing all anticipa- 
tions founded on its recommendations," — which perhaps means 
" better than expected." With July came carnations, pinks, dahlias, 
roses, and unusually fine fruits, — White Bigarreau and Black Tar- 
tarian cherries from Elijah Vose, Jr., Downer cherries, and White 
Antwerp and Barnet raspberries from the Winships, currants of 
thirteen kinds, gooseberries, and Chasselas grapes. Apples and 
pears appeared on the twentieth of July, and continued to pre- 
dominate in the fruit classes, though apricots and plums were rep- 
resented, — the latter being White Apricot, Morocco, and Royal 
Tours. In August we notice exhibits of new French roses, apples 
and pears from M. P. Wilder, and of plums from Robert Manning 
and others; but in many cases the Committee is unable to name 
them. A seedling apricot from Edward Cruft was warmly com- 
mended, and named Cruft's Late Seedling. The plums continued 
to attract much interest, for as yet the trees had apparently not 
been attacked to any great extent by the enemies which later 
threatened to drive their culture from New England; indeed, we 
find later committees looking back on this period as the golden 
age of the plum and the peach. In September a solitary nut 
appeared, " resembling a filbert." The show of flowers, and 
particularly of dahlias, on the fifth of October was described 
as the most splendid ever held at the rooms and perhaps in the 

The date of the fifth anniversary festival is given both in the 
" New England Farmer " and in the Society's publication as the 
thirteenth of September, but that of the address by Alexander H. 
Everett as the eighteenth on the title-page of the latter. Whichever 
day it was, the rain fell profusely but failed to prevent a large con- 
course of spectators from inspecting the innumerable donations oi 


fruit and flowers, and wondering at the display of eleven varieties 
of artificial fruits sent by Nelson D. Jones, and the large orange 
tree in full bearing by Messrs. Willot and Wilson. Nicholas Long- 
worth, of Cincinnati, sent two bottles of his native wine, the pure 
juice of the native grape, which was pronounced excellent. The 
address by Alexander Everett 2 in the Masonic Temple was elo- 
quent and impressive, and included a broadened definition of hor- 
ticulture: " In its simplest application it proposes to improve the 
qualities of vegetables, flowers and fruits. In its higher depart- 
ments it assumes the character of one of the elegant arts, and 
teaches the disposition of grounds and gardens, whether intended 
for the recreation of individuals, the ornament of cities and 
palaces, or the repositories of the dead." He described for his 
hearers many foreign gardens as observed by himself, and gave 
an account of late improvements in gardening in Europe. At three 
o'clock the members and " numbers of respectable guests " sat 
down to a dinner "which consisted of all the substantiate and 
delicacies the Epicure could wish for or the Temperate man en- 
joy." Perhaps the success of these dinners is somewhat due to the 
fact that very many toasts besides horticultural ones were intro- 
duced — indeed, only two or three of the thirteen " regular " 
ones had anything to do with horticulture except by way of the 
most conscientious punning. One was " The Veterans of '76. A few 
slips of the Elder, grafted on the tree of Liberty. Their upright 
shoots did not need much training to produce a collection of 
Scarlet runners "; but good David Haggerston offered " America 
and Great Britain: In the interchange of productions between the 
two countries may the Olive Branch ever be the article most highly 
estimated." After President Dearborn had retired, Zebedee Cook, 
Jr., expressed the grateful sense of all for the President's talents 
and untiring zeal and devotion. * Then," says the " New England 
Farmer," " nuts of wit and wisdom were cracked with as much 
glee as if Comus himself had presided at the feast, and every guest 
had been inspired by the Genius of Hilarity. Quips, quirks, smiles, 
plain and wreathed, and other manifestations of mirth from the 
delicate inaudible simper to the loud horselaugh indicated that all 

2 The brother of Edward Everett; Editor of the North American Review and 
formerly Minister to Spain. 


believed ' a merry heart doth good like a medicine.' " A song of 
fifteen stanzas called " Loves of Betsey Buckwheat and Simon 
Sparrowgrass," written and sung by EL J. Finn, concluded the fes- 
tival. How could anything but cordial understanding result from 
such an occasion? 

Chapter V • 1 834-1 844. ON CORNHILL 

IN 1833 the growth of the Society's membership and activities 
had again obliged its officers to cast about for larger quar- 
ters; but as before, not many suitable places were available, 
and it was not until the first of February, 1834, that we read of a 
meeting at the New Hall, 81 Market St., — or Cornhill, as it had 
lately been renamed. At this time the membership was about six 
hundred, exclusive of over eighty honorary and over sixty cor- 
responding members ; and the spread of influence is shown by the 
establishment early in March, 1834, of a non-resident member- 
ship, which meant residence over twenty miles from Boston, and 
an admission fee of seven dollars, with exemption from annual 
contribution. Seeds and scions were constantly being received from 
distant parts of the world; and the authority of the growing So- 
ciety is evidenced by repeated requests in the " New England 
Farmer " for a list of fruits adapted to the climate of New Eng- 
land, which was at last supplied by the Fruit Committee. This 
gave thirty-three varieties of apples, twenty-three being of Ameri- 
can origin; forty-nine of pears, twenty-one American; fourteen 
of plums, five American; eleven of cherries, two American; and 
thirty-two of peaches, fifteen American. 

On the seventh of June the first move was made towards a 
public exhibition of fruits and flowers in the autumn. Meanwhile 
the weekly exhibitions continued; and that of mid-June was gor- 
geous with roses, honeysuckles, peonies (" paeonies," as the word 
was for long years spelled), Scotch broom, spiraeas and other 
flowers from John Kenrick ; various flowers and a splendid speci- 
men of Cactus speciosissimus from the Charlestown vineyard 
of Thomas Mason; roses, lilies, phloxes, pinks, and other flowers 
in profusion from Hovey and Company of Cambridge, who were 
to become such valuable pillars of the Society's exhibitions later; 
similar exhibits from the Winships; and dahlias presented by 
R. Rogerson. On the twenty-first of June we find " the new and 


beautiful Macrophylla Rose, the first ever exhibited at the Soci- 
ety's rooms," sent by Mrs. Archelaus Norcross. In commending 
the Winships' roses a week later, the editor of the " Farmer " 
points out that " vegetables as well as animals, may be improved 
indefinitely by renewing from the seed and propagating from the 
finest specimens of the best varieties." By the end of June the 
preparations for an autumn exhibition had evidently been gather- 
ing in volume, for it was voted that the committee on the matter 
should " be limited to the number of thirty." The bulk of what- 
ever preliminary work there was, however, seems to have been 
shifted to a sub-committee of five; yet the committee was after- 
wards further increased to thirty-five. The loan of plants and 
flowers of desirable kinds was to be solicited for the occasion. No 
doubt it was this absorbing interest that made it " inexpedient as 
a society " to have the usual annual dinner; though it was voted 
to consider the propriety of having a " collation "; but we must 
perforce remember that the disagreement in regard to the Mt. 
Auburn funds and garden was at this moment becoming pro- 
nounced. So we find no enthusiastic account of a banquet this 
year; but we may surreptitiously turn the pages of the records for 
an instant, and reassure ourselves with the knowledge that the 
dinners are by no means yet at an end. The public exhibition was 
enough to occupy everybody for the time; John C. Gray, one of 
the first three vice-presidents, had been appointed to deliver the 
address, and Faneuil Hall had been engaged for the great display 
of flowers expected on the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth 
of September. 

The address was an exposition and a eulogy of horticulture as 
an art rather than as a science, with emphasis on the benefits which 
have accrued to civilization from those nations which have culti- 
vated the ground rather than from those which have gained mili- 
tary glory. Of France's Empire on this continent, nothing re- 
mains; yet still on the banks of the Detroit river grow the orchards 
planted by French colonists. Perhaps the most significant observa- 
tion of the speaker was that before the founding 0! the Society 
horticulture was still rather a solitary than a social pursuit. It k 
only a step from this thought to that expressed by Joseph Hreck 
in his inaugural speech years later when he said that there is DO 


other pursuit that so effectively modifies or annihilates the dis- 
tinctions which custom has made in society; and it is certainly 
pertinent to observe that to whatever extent interests have tempo- 
rarily conflicted in the course of succeeding years, this bond of fel- 
lowship has always held firm. Surely there has never been a 
pursuit better adapted to a democratic nation. 

Of the exhibition the report cannot speak with enough en- 
thusiam. " The display surpassed the most sanguine anticipations 
of the friends of the Society and the Amateurs of that rural im- 
provement in which nature and art combine to produce the fairest 
objects which can decorate the splendid abodes of affluence or the 
humble retreats of rural felicity. . . . The Cradle of Liberty was 
converted, as it were, by enchantment, into the Temple of Flora 
and the Palace of Pomona " — two goddess-saints of great service 
to our early orators, — " and the Champions of American Inde- 
pendence, whose portraits adorn the walls of this venerated fabric, 
appeared to look with complacence on the efforts of the Society 
to decorate the theatre of their exertions." There were fifty-five 
exhibits; some of them striking, like Robert Manning's collection 
of forty-four different kinds of pears, embracing many newly in- 
troduced varieties. Apples, pears, peaches, grapes, melons, plums 
and cherries were in great profusion, well interspersed with tropi- 
cal plants such as the sago-palm, pomegranate, orange, lemon, 
coffee, fig and banana; and the Gladiolus Natalensis, 1 from Samuel 
Sweetser, was described as one of the richest and most gorgeous 
plants of all. Dahlias in great variety came from E. Putnam and 
M. P. Wilder, China and German asters of a dozen varieties from 
the Hoveys, and beautiful and rare roses from William Wales. The 
sum of seven hundred and seventy-five dollars was realized from 
the sale of tickets, and one hundred and twenty-five from the 
flowers, which left a comfortable balance over the expenditures. 

But just before the sixth anniversary had been reached, Zebe- 
dee Cook, Vice-President, received a letter from President Dear- 
born announcing his resignation because of his intended removal 
to the far West. In a short letter charged with deep feeling, Presi- 
dent Dearborn expressed his sense of the honor repeatedly con- 
ferred upon him by the members of the Society, and of his happy 

1 This had been shown also by the Winships on the ninth of August. 


connection with an institution " destined to become one of the 
most useful and important in our country." " As an experimental 
garden is of indispensable consequence to your prosperity," he 
continues, " nothing should be neglected which is calculated to 
render that of Mount Auburn equal to any on the Globe; and 
. . . allow me to recommend, as a primary measure, that semi- 
naries be formed this autumn and the next spring of all the varie- 
ties of fruit, forest and ornamental trees and shrubs which will 
flourish in our climate. This being accomplished, nurseries can be 
established for propagating every kind of foreign and native fruits, 
with such care and sureness of identity as to preclude the possibil- 
ity of those vexatious errors, in name and character, to which we 
have hitherto been subjected as to the several varieties of each 
species." Perhaps President Breck was right when he said in 1859 
that the experimental garden was " once prematurely com- 
menced" and "fortunately abandoned"; 2 but the services of 
General Dearborn to the Society depended not in the least on the 
success of his favorite project. His services to horticulture in gen- 
eral were constant and practical, and were enough to justify the 
honors he bore; but his great gift to the Society was probably 
given unconsciously: he laid for it the corner stone of a simple, in- 
dustrious, self-sacrificing, modest democracy, — a democracy not 
contradicted by the prestige and popularity he obtained for it 
both in America and abroad ; and the great structure which arose 
afterwards rests firmly on it today. 

Zebedee Cook, Jr., became General Dearborn's successor, and, 
with Elijah Vose and Jonathan Winship as Vice-Presidents, en- 
tered office on the first Saturday — the sixth day — of December, 
1834. It was then that Marshall P. Wilder moved that a committee 
be appointed to consider the separation from Mount Auburn, and 
until well into 1835 tne attention of the Society became thus en- 
grossed. Exhibitions were as usual, but the only note we need make 
is that on the seventh of March, Azalea coccinea and Azalea Phoe- 
nicia were exhibited for the first time, by Thomas Mason. Before 
leaving the subject of Mount Auburn we may notice a short article 
in the " New England Farmer " of June the twenty-fourth, signed 
"A Member of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Rox- 

2 Transactions, M. H. S., 1S50, Inaugural address. 


bury," which gives us a glimpse into the difficult straits through 
which the Society was passing. After praising the work and the 
objects of the Society, the writer says, " But it is a well known and 
deeply lamented fact that untoward circumstances have divided 
the effects, and have threatened to destroy the usefulness of this 
hitherto harmonious society. . . . The origin of this dissention 
was the attempt to unite the efforts of individuals with a vast 
scheme of carrying on a great garden on joint account. One would 
have hoped that the history of the garden at Chiswick would have 
taught us wisdom, but it failed to produce this effect. What, then, 
are we to do to reunite all hearts and hands in this good work? The 
first object is to forget, forget forever all that is past. The second, 
to avail ourselves of the experience and knowledge which we have 
obtained. In the commencement we did not know, could not know, 
the latent talents which the Society has brought to light. . . . Let 
us select the able, practical men and place them at the head of the 
Society. Let us give place to merit, solid merit as it has been ex- 
hibited at our shows. ... A society which can now boast of fifty 
able practical associates can have no difficulty in filling its offices 
respectably. Let it be done with coolness and impartiality. Let a 
grand committee, composed of persons not seeking office, be 
selected to name the officers . . . and let us rely upon it that the 
Massachusetts Horticultural Society will arise with new vigor. 
. . ." But as has been seen, the situation was handled with great 
tact and tolerance, and from it emerged a friendly confidence be- 
tween the Society and the Mount Auburn Corporation which has 
never since been disturbed. 

On the twenty-seventh of June, 1835, Elijah Vose of Dorchester 
was elected president, and E. Bartlett, S. A. Shurtleff and G. W. 
Pratt vice-presidents, all unanimously, — as indeed were all other 
officers. The exhibitions increased in size and excellence; and on 
July the eighth the report states that Colonel M. P. Wilder had 
" evinced his good taste and judgment by his liberality in import- 
ing from foreign countries whatever might be useful to the horti- 
cultural or floricultural admirers." In November this recognition 
of individual interest was officially expressed to Wilder and four 
others by the vote of a " piece of plate of the value of fifty dollars, 
with a suitable inscription " to Robert Manning, for his " meritori- 


ous exertions in promoting the cause of pomological science, and 
for obtaining valuable new varieties of fruits from Europe "; to 
William Kenrick, for " procuring scions of new fruits from Eu- 
rope, and for his valuable treatise on fruit trees "; to Marshall P. 
Wilder, for " beautiful exhibitions of Camelias, Roses, and Dahl- 
ias, embracing many new varieties, imported by himself from 
Europe"; to Samuel Walker, for "splendid exhibitions of new 
varieties of tulips, pinks, and anemones, imported by himself from 
Europe, and for his successful efforts in the cultivation of the 
same; and to the Messrs. Winship (this vote is not marked " unan- 
imously," as the others are), for their " long and valuable serv- 
ices as members of the Society." But Robert Manning's peculiar 
service is better stated very many years later by John B. Rus- 
sell, who says that his modesty was excelled only by his extraor- 
dinary talent in identifying the different varieties of fruits, whose 
nomenclature was then in almost inextricable confusion. He was 
always present, with large collections of rare fruits, and " from 
his judgment there was never an appeal on a point of nomencla- 
ture." He was the first man in America to investigate the origin 
and history of the Bartlett pear. William Kenrick was one of 
those to whom was due the credit of generally disseminating such 
fruits as the Porter apple, Downer and Belle et Magnifique cherry, 
the Duchesse d'Angouleme, Harvard, Andrews, Clapp, Cushing, 
Dix, Wilkinson, and Heathcote pears, then of such great reputa- 
tion. 3 The first years of the Society, and indeed the whole period 
until the erection of the first Horticultural Hall, has aptly been 
called the " era of collection." 

Large and beautiful exhibits of dahlias were made by Samuel 
Walker and Marshall P. Wilder in the early part of August, and 
John Lowell sent a letter concerning their cultivation. They con- 
tinued in great variety through the season; and in late August 
the apples, pears and plums arrived, increasing in volume to very 
large exhibitions in September. On the sixteenth and seventeenth 
came the annual exhibition, made a fixture by its remarkable suc- 
cess in 1834. John L. Russell, the Society's professor of botany, de- 
livered his address at the Odeon in Federal Street, on the second 
day. Like previous speakers, he defines and reviews horticulture; 

: John B. RtuseD, at semi-centennial dinner, Transactions, if 


but preaches a good sermon on the text of the potato, which, long 
lost as a species, had shown that the " effect of soil and climate on 
the vegetable kingdom, seems a wise provision of Nature in favor 
of the industry and enterprise of man; for although liberal in her 
gifts, she retains the right of reducing to original forms these very 
changes, when uncontrolled by art." The speakers never neglect 
to indicate the spiritual effect of a garden on man, and few fail to 
moralize upon it. He then commends the weekly exhibitions, and 
mentions the establishment of two periodicals, the " American 
Gardener's Magazine " and the " Horticultural Register." 

For the exhibition a floor had been constructed to the edge of 
the stage, and the sides lined with pine trees, as was the gallery of 
entrance leading from the vestibule; large tables at the sides and 
in the centre were laden with fruit and flowers, and circular ones on 
the stage devoted principally to a magnificent display of dahlias 
and of China asters, backed by plants and pines. The exhibition 
was notable for the large proportion of new kinds of flowers and 
fruits but lately known in America, which doubtless were the im- 
mediate cause of the gifts of plate noted above. The summer had 
been favorable to the dahlia, which was now the favorite exhibi- 
tion flower; and the apple and pear exhibits, especially the latter, 
grew larger and larger through the autumn, and did not entirely 
cease until well into February. In 1829 the Honorable John Welles 
had donated one hundred dollars as a premium to the most suc- 
cessful cultivator of apple trees, leaving the year of awarding it 
undesignated; and the Society now decided to use this gift and 
named the year 1839. A gift of one thousand dollars was made this 
year by Ambrose S. Courtes. 

On the nineteenth of September, 1835, Elijah Vose was re- 
elected president, and steps were taken to revise the Constitution 
and By-Laws. We note that the Library Committee reported at 
length, and had arranged to procure " certain valuable publica- 
tions from France." A week later a draft of the remodelled Consti- 
tution was furnished for the inspection of the members; and this, 
with amendments, was adopted on the fifth of December. The 
chief feature of the flower exhibitions during the early part of the 
winter was the Camellia Japonica, of which Samuel Walker says 
" This species of plant has all the splendor of the Rose, and al- 


though it has no perfume, yet its foliage adds so much to its 
beauty that Flora may be said to have denied us a preference. 
Colonel Wilder stands pre-eminent as a cultivator of this splendid 
flower; he has made very large importations from England and 
France, and we understand he can show a greater variety of the 
Camellia than any other person in Massachusetts, if not in the 
United States." In subsequent reports good Mr. Walker often 
finds nothing less than poetry adequate for some of the communi- 
cations from the Flower Committee. 

During the night of Monday, the fourteenth of March, 1836, 
the building in which the Society's rooms were located was badly 
damaged by fire. This was undoubtedly of incendiary origin, for 
three others occurred almost simultaneously, in different parts of 
the city. The little library was saved, though slightly damaged; 
but it was here that were lost the paintings of fruits which we hear 
spoken of with so much pride, and other bits of property which 
would have been of so much historical interest today. The next 
meeting was held at a room opposite the former hall, on Corn- 
hill, and a Committee formed to engage a " suitable hall or store " 
for the meetings, but they were unsuccessful, and the former room, 
which had been repaired, was re-engaged. The Flower Committee 
was kept busy by a correspondence with Baron von Ludwig, of 
Cape Town, who had sent a large quantity of seeds and bulbs, 
which were distributed for cultivation to eight well qualified mem- 
bers. In May the Library received a package of books from Paris 
containing a donation from Dr. J. B. Van Mons, of Belgium, of 
the first volume of his " Pomonomie Beige," on the propagation 
of fruit trees by seed; and a pamphlet on Van Mons's Theory, 
from M. A. Poiteau, which was of absorbing interest to the fruit 
cultivators. President Vose at once recommended experiments in 
our country, pointing out that it was unnecessary to begin back 
with seeds of the wild sorts in order to improve on our own varie- 
ties; and Ezra Weston, Jr., the speaker at the anniversary in 
September, made Van Mons the subject of his address. Wot on 
gave a clear exposition of the greal Belgian's methods, and stated 
that our object should be to find out how far amelioration could 
be carried, and what limits nature had set. 

Dahlias made their appearance early, and competition between 


Messrs. Wilder, Sweetser and Hovey became interesting. On the 
second of July, Gladiolus floribundus was shown by M. P. Wilder, 
and in August William E. Carter, of the Cambridge Botanic Gar- 
den, introduced two new seedling varieties of phlox which won 
praise. The rare flower exhibits in August of J. P. Cushing, of 
whose garden David Haggerston had taken charge after leaving 
Mount Auburn, proclaimed the latter a master in his profession, 
according to S. Walker's enthusiastic report; and pears, apples, 
plums, and grapes were shown regularly by Messrs. Manning, 
Downer, Bartlett and Mason. The eighth anniversary exhibition 
came on September the twenty- fourth, 1836, at the Artists' Gal- 
lery, in Summer Street; and though not so large as former shows, 
had never been excelled in quality and in new and rare varieties 
of fruit. Robert Manning led with seventy varieties of pears, 
among them, for the first time, the Belle Lucrative and the Beurre 
Bosc. The blossoms of the peach and the cherry had suffered 
severely from the cold winter throughout New England, and little 
fruit resulted. Flowers also suffered; but again the dahlia was re- 
splendent, — as Samuel Walker says, William E. Carter's " met 
the eye at once and with great force." On the twenty-fourth of 
June, Marshall P. Wilder exhibited Oncidium flexuosum, " in 
bloom more than four weeks; stalk 27 inches in length, with at 
one time ninety-seven full .expanded blossoms." This is apparently 
the first orchid to appear at an exhibition; though we remember 
that Kirk Boott had a collection of them before the Society was 

By the second of September more spacious quarters had been 
found, over twenty-three Tremont Street, or " 23 Tremont Row," 
as it is called in the next report and elsewhere, or " 25 Tremont 
Row " in the next. It was " nearly opposite the Savings Bank," 
however; and Manning states that it was "23 Tremont Row, now 
25 Tremont Street." The public had for many weeks past been ad- 
mitted to the Saturday exhibitions. In view of the troubles so 
soon to come, it is interesting to note that the plums exhibited on 
the ninth of September were of greater variety and better quality 
than any in the memory of the Fruit Commitee. The new hall was 
large enough for the ninth annual exhibition, which began on the 
twentieth of September, 1837, and lasted four days. The address, 


delivered at the New Jerusalem Church by the Honorable Wil- 
liam Lincoln of Worcester, was, as perhaps might be expected, the 
most generally interesting yet delivered. After a graceful and po- 
etic tribute to horticulture, he reviewed the subject as others had 
done, but with a humorous touch and a definite appraisal which 
greatly improved the perspective. In conclusion he observed that 
the effects of soil, exposure and temperature upon the qualities of 
plants yet remained undefined: theory and practice had too long 
held coquettish courtship; it was time for an indissoluble union 
between the crucible and the spade, and for analysis to complete 
the results of experience, — for we had been relying on discoveries 
by accident. A sincere lover of New England, he did not want the 
splendor of Italian skies, or the enervating softness of southern 
gales; our snow-crowned heights and frost-bound streams nur- 
tured moral, intellectual and physical vigor; and perhaps the same 
flexibility shown by the human constitution extended through the 
vegetable kingdom, in which the ruggedness of the soil and the 
asperity of the climate might afford the cultivator new triumphs. 
So loyal and optimistic a view must surely have made a deep im- 
pression on those who were studying Van Mons's ideas; it is at 
least prophetic or indicative of the work which was to follow this 
" era of collection." 

The exhibition hall contained a great table in the centre, upon 
which stood two beautiful orange trees, large growing pineapples 
and heavily clustered grapevines. It was the greatest display yet 
held; and, with more exhibits of fruits and flowers, was as notable 
for new and splendid varieties as for the taste with which they 
were arranged. The number of visitors far exceeded that of any 
former year — for all four days were fine — " including," says 
the report, " a good proportion of the fair; and the fairest of the 
fair and the brilliant display . . . might well serve to remind us 
of Eden." On this occasion Phlox Drummondi appeared here for 
the first time. Marshall Wilder sent acacias and other plants, — 
in all about seventy specimens; but the dahlia had of course been 
chosen queen of the occasion, and was represented by a bewilder- 
ing array of varieties from the Messrs. Hovey, Wilder, Sweetser, 
Johnson and others. A list of the officers and standing committees 
elected in October, 1837, shows a fruit committee of eleven with a 


committee on synonyms of fruits of four, and one of seven on 
flowers and shrubs. This seems roughly to indicate the proportion 
of interest in the two departments at this time, though in 1838 
flower premiums exceeded fruit in the amount appropriated. Grape 
exhibits were on the increase, and George W. Brimmer presented 
the Society with one hundred copies of Hoare's treatise on the 

At the annual meeting for election in October, several matters 
of interest were brought up. It was voted that the Society's funds 
be kept in some bank ; that the Treasurer should make a statement 
every year to the Society and quarterly to the Finance Committee ; 
and that any idle sum above two hundred dollars should be in- 
vested. On the tenth of September the Society and horticulture 
generally lost a warm and valuable friend by the death of Thomas 
J. Fessenden, editor of the " New England Farmer." It was per- 
haps this event that suggested to the Society the advantage of pub- 
lishing their annals themselves. John L. Russell introduced the 
first volume of transactions — that for the year 183 7-1 83 8 — 
with a retrospect of the last two centuries in horticulture, and 
outlined the departments into which the publication should be 

The premium list for 1838 offered twenty prizes for fruit, 
amounting to one hundred dollars ; the largest, for foreign grapes 
grown under glass, ten dollars; the others mostly five; and two 
for currants. There were eighteen vegetable prizes, amounting to 
fifty dollars, ranging between four dollars and two, and favoring 
asparagus, cucumbers and peas. One hundred and twenty-five dol- 
lars went to flowers, with ten-dollar prizes for dahlias and for a 
general display of herbaceous plants, prizes of eight and six dol- 
lars for collections of dahlias, and the others of from five to two 
dollars. The eligible fruit, flower or vegetable was, of course, to 
have been raised by the competitor. Premiums were awarded on 
the twenty-eighth of April at a special geranium show for the best 
six varieties in pots and for the best seedling. 

John L. Russell's observations give several items of general in- 
terest. We learn that the hot summer had been unfavorable to all 
flowers, and had distinctly brought out the insect problem, — in 
which the plum curculio was already becoming a serious item. The 


method of budding roses of difficult culture on stronger kinds had 
been crowned with success; tulips had been successful, especially 
the forty varieties shown by Samuel Walker ; and to Walker also 
was credited the first successful efforts in introducing the pink. 
Two varieties and one species of phlox had been added to the list 
of garden plants, and two new species and several varieties of the 
verbena. Many new greenhouses had been lately erected in the 
neighborhood. Robert Manning's indefatigable efforts at his 
Salem nursery had made pomology his debtor, and from him 
might soon be expected a correct synonymy of fruits. It was 
through him and William Kenrick that Van Mons's work was 
made familiar to the general cultivator. The increasing demand 
for fruits was now encouraging greater efforts in cultivating them ; 
and this soon directed the attention of the market gardeners to 
glazed houses. As to plants, there had been good success with rho- 
dodendrons and azaleas, especially those of T. Lee in Jamaica 
Plain; an interest which was to grow and culminate in the grand 
exhibits years later by H. Hollis Hunnewell. At this time efforts 
had just begun towards establishing a Public Garden in Boston. 

The annual meeting and the exhibition of 1838 took place on 
the nineteenth of September, and the latter lasted three days. 
Again the rooms were crowded, and again the display of fruit was 
" never excelled," and included many new kinds from the con- 
tiguous gardens of Messrs. Manning and Ives. The dahlia had 
been almost a total failure because of the heat and drought, but 
its place was filled by cut flowers enough for every vase, dish and 
basket. Apples and pears formed the large bulk of the fruit ex- 
hibits, but grapes were steadily working their way into the front 
rank of interest. Vegetables were represented by twenty-seven ex- 
hibits. Rhubarb and tomatoes were now coming into general cul- 

A glance at Samuel Walker's statement of the property of the 
Society on January the twenty-fourth, 1S39, shows a total of 
$10, 829.04. This represents the sum of twenty-five shares of the 
Merehants' Bank, $2500; five of the Oriental Bank, S500; ten 
of the Boston and Worcester Railroad, $1000; a note, with bank 
stock as collateral, of Srooo; the amount to be received under 
A. S. Courtes's will, $5000; and a balance in the hands of the 


Treasurer, $829.04. The Courtes will item represented the result 
of a compromise with the heirs at law, who had contested the be- 
quest of $10,000 upon the death of Mr. Courtes in August, 1837. 
While this property is not imposing in modern eyes and in modern 
money-value, it quite justifies the characterization of " in a pros- 
perous condition " which the Society received ten years after 
its founding, and speaks eloquently for the timeliness of Mr. 
Courtes's gift. 

The smaller shows of 1839 included several interesting exhibits: 
numerous native flowers, in response to the prizes offered for 
them by Thomas Lee; the first Strelitzia augusta ever exhibited 
here, from T. H. Perkins; the Gloriosa superba, blooming for the 
first time in America, from John Lowe; and, best of all, and the 
winners in their class, seedling strawberries from the Messrs. 
Hovey, exhibited at the end of June. The Hovey strawberry and 
the Boston Pine, both seedlings of C. M. Hovey's, had fruited in 
1836 and 1837, an d from them are descended most of the later 
garden strawberries; for emulation was of course at once stimu- 
lated among growers. Thus it happens that the annual exhibition 
is less interesting to us this year than the smaller ones ; but for two 
reasons, with its " display of that magnificent flower, the dahlia," 
asters, and great variety of fruits, the large show from September 
the twenty-fifth through the twenty-seventh arrests our attention : 
the growing taste in the arrangement of the exhibits, and the rest- 
lessness because of lack of space. Samuel Walker had already in 
his reports taken exhibitors to task for bad massing. The number 
of plants was smaller than in past years; yet the Committee felt 
that they were all that could be placed with proper advantage, 
and suggested that the Society should try to procure a large hall 
and again gratify the public with such a display as that of a few 
years before in Faneuil Hall. Fruit exhibits were increasing 
rapidly; indeed, nothing but an examination of the long lists of 
varieties of apples and pears can give an adequate idea of the 
labor and time and money devoted at this period to the collecting 
and testing and naming of these fruits. At this exhibition Robert 
Manning showed seventy varieties of pears, David Haggerston 
some beautiful forced grapes, and M. P. Wilder and S. Downer 
pears and apples respectively. In vegetables, " an important part 


of the Society's labors," the lack of interest was regretted as com- 
pared with the zeal hitherto shown, and greater efforts urged. John 
Lowell, interested perhaps equally in horticulture and agriculture, 
and constantly helpful in both, had sent potatoes of great size; 
S. Blake exhibited a squash weighing one hundred and fifteen 
pounds; and John Prince sent Brussels sprouts; but the few ex- 
hibits during the whole season were from a small number of the 
members. Marshall P. Wilder presented specimens of wax fruits 
made in Frankfurt, which were considered very faithfully done. 
In the afternoon of the last day of the exhibition the Committee 
of Arrangements dined together at the Shawmut House. 

In April, 1840, a dozen varieties of the genus citrus, — citrons, 
lemons, oranges and limes, — were shown by C. W. Dabney, of 
Fayal. There was naturally more of curiosity than of interest in 
this display, and no similar one was seen again until over forty 
years later, when in 1 881, at the suggestion of one of the members 
visiting California, the Southern California Horticultural Society 
sent similar specimens. Something nearer home was the rose slug, 
against whose ravages it was now deemed necessary to take ag- 
gressive measures. A premium of a hundred and twenty dollars 
was voted, " which," said Samuel Walker, " will probably call into 
the field an army of Flora's loving subjects, who will not, I trust, 
lay down their arms until they shall have annihilated the foul de- 
facer of the mantle of the queen of flowers," — for it was the foli- 
age that was suffering. In March, 1842, the premium was awarded 
to David Haggerston, whose solution of whale-oil soap was found 
to be effective. 

A special exhibition of peonies came on the thirteenth of June, 
with roses and native flowers also in evidence, W. and J. A. Ken- 
rick winning the prizes. In August the Hoveys exhibited many- 
varieties of the verbena. The annual exhibition on September the 
ninth and through the eleventh was again held at the Society's 
room, though with many murmurs against its insufficient size and 
height. In the centre was a large, oval table for fruit, upon which 
rested two lattice-work arches, end to end. These were wreathed 
with evergreens, roses, dahlias, and asters. Three lattice-work 
alcoves, backed by evergreens and festooned, stood in each corner 
opposite the entrance door, the central one in each much larger 


than the other two, and in each a splendid bouquet. The cornices 
of the room were festooned, and the tables on each side bore the 
collections of plants. On one side the plants formed a deep back- 
ground to the mass of dahlias which extended the whole length. 
The weather was favorable, and the hall thronged by many dis- 
tinguished men from distant parts of the country who had assem- 
bled in Boston to join the Whig procession at Bunker Hill. The 
fruits were unusually numerous and fine, — grapes, pears, mag- 
nificent peaches and plums ; but the vegetables were not well rep- 
resented. Dahlias, as usual, predominated in the flower class. A 
dinner of thirty took place at the Exchange Coffee House on the 
twenty- fourth, at which General Dearborn, the Reverend Cole- 
man of the Agricultural Survey, and Editor Buckingham of the 
" Courier " were present. So great was the enthusiasm for the 
dahlia that a " grand dahlia show," the first for premiums, was 
opened to the public on the twenty-third of September and con- 
tinued for four days. Nearly three thousand blooms were dis- 
played by the regular exhibitors of this flower — Josiah Stickney, 
M. P. Wilder, the Hoveys, D. Haggerston, S. Walker, S. Sweetser, 
the Winships, the Kenricks and others. The premiums were for the 
best specimen bloom and for various collections of dissimilar 
blooms. Even with this the lovers of the dahlia were not content, 
and on the tenth of October held another show, with premiums 
from the entrance fees; and this was in some particulars even 
finer than its predecessor. 

A report from the committee in September, 1840, shows that, 
with so much effort in the garden and the orchard, the Library was 
not being neglected. A hundred dollars had been spent for works 
on gardens, greenhouses, and landscape gardening, and for maga- 
zines and encyclopaedia, and twenty-five per year more was 
planned for Audubon's Birds of America until it should be com- 
plete. Arrangements were made for proper cases, lists and cata- 
logues, and rules were established as experience proved them nec- 
essary. One event of the year meant a serious loss to the Society: 
the death of John Lowell. Though less in evidence than several 
others since that first meeting over which he presided in Zebedee 
Cook's office, he is everywhere felt by a reader of the records as 
a watchful, resourceful and guiding force, the more effective be- 


cause he did not choose to make himself prominent. Disinterested- 
ness always characterized his energetic, intelligent activity in 
whatever concerned the public good; and at his death in March, 
1840, his contemporaries testified that the agriculture of Massa- 
chusetts, for any improvements it had attained, was perhaps more 
indebted to him than to any other individual, living or dead. 4 

On the first of October, 1840, Elijah Vose retired from the presi- 
dency, which he had occupied since 1835, and Marshall P. Wilder 
was elected to fill his place. Vose left the Society in a much more 
prosperous condition than that in which he had found it; then it 
was in debt, and now its surplus fund was enough for all its wants. 
In testimony of his services, the sum of a hundred dollars was ap- 
propriated to procure a piece of plate, which was suitably in- 
scribed and presented. The retiring President's services had been 
of no spectacular sort, and could not have been so at this epoch; 
but they were none the less vital to the growing institution and to 
the public welfare which he wished it to subserve; and his five 
faithful years at the helm must not be forgotten in the brilliant 
work which was to come. 

The new President's name had for many seasons been familiar 
in the lists of premiums both for fruits and flowers, particularly 
pears and dahlias; and as though desirous of setting an example, 
he now appeared as a leader in the culture of the Camellia Japon- 
ica, one of the most popular greenhouse plants of the day, of which 
he had at his place, Hawthorn Grove, in Dorchester, more than 
three hundred of the best varieties, or over six hundred seedlings, 
the result of crossing the finest sorts. In a very short time he was 
rewarded by a flower from the Single Red fertilized by the variety 
Camellia punctata, which " eclipsed all that preceded it." This 
was the Camellia Wilderii, which was described as follows: " four 
inches in diameter; color, a most beautiful clear rose; form ex- 
quisite; petals of perfect rose-leaf shape arranged with the great- 
est regularity in the shell form; the flower very deep from the 
back to the centre, forming a semi-spherical ball, of bold and 
showy effect. But what gives the flower its great excellence is its 
broad, round petals, with scarcely a notch or serrature on the 
edge, and retaining a full, round bosom at the centre even when 
4 Sec \. B. Farmer fox March 18, 1S40. 


fully expanded." 5 It was prophesied that no further experiments 
by Mr. Wilder could produce so good a result. At the June exhibi- 
tion Wilder's peonies and roses took rank with those of the Ken- 
ricks and Winships; on the nineteenth he exhibited the new Cle- 
matis azurea grandiflora; and on the fourteenth of August he 
presented the first Japanese lily, — Lilium lancifolium album. We 
must not leave the August exhibitions without noting the " High 
Blackberry," or " Dorchester," exhibited for the first time by 
E. Thayer. 

President Wilder's interest was also actively engaged at this 
time by the growing menace of insect enemies, a matter which in 
its bearing on horticulture had not been met in America by sys- 
tematic study at public expense, as had been the case in Germany 
and France. David Haggerston had, as we have seen, discovered 
effective arms against the rose slug; and the next problem was the 
curculio, the enemy of the plum, which could no longer be ignored. 
A premium was offered for its destruction; but nearly two years 
later B. V. French reported that the conquest of the pest could 
not be expected for years. In May, 1843, however, Dr. Joel Bur- 
nett of Southborough sent to the Society a paper upon the natu- 
ral history of the insect, though he could suggest for its control 
only the jarring of the tree, by which the insects fell on a cloth 
placed beneath, and could be crushed between the thumb and fin- 
ger; a makeshift method at best, but improved by pressing hens 
into the service; by which plan, as was later pointed out, the cur- 
culio could be converted into poultry. 

The dry, hot season of 1841, the counter-attraction of the Me- 
chanics' Fair, and not entirely favorable weather, did not prevent 
the most gorgeous display of dahlias ever held at the Society's 
room and the usual throng of visitors, at the annual exhibition on 
the twenty-second of September and the two days following. The 
fruit exhibits also, grouped on the central table, were far superior 
both in quality and number of varieties, to any heretofore made. 
Robert Manning showed over a hundred and twenty varieties of 
pears, M. P. Wilder and J. P. Cushing more than forty each, and 
about fifteen others sent liberal contributions, — a great predomi- 
nance over all other fruit including apples, though the latter were 

5 N. E. Farmer, Jan. 20, 1841. 


well represented. A second dahlia show was again arranged by the 
enthusiasts for early in October; but before the day arrived a 
severe wind and rain storm nearly ruined the plants, and the 
premiums were by unanimous consent left in the hands of the 
Treasurer to swell those for 1842. On the last day of the annual 
exhibition the Society returned to the custom of celebrating the 
anniversary by a dinner, which was held at Concert Hall. The 
hall was decorated with flowers from the exhibition, and about a 
hundred and twenty members, with many guests, at four o'clock 
sat down at the tables, which were richly laden with fruits. Gen- 
eral Dearborn, Levi Lincoln, President Quincy of Harvard, 
Messrs. Samuel Appleton and R. G. Shaw, and Mr. Grattan, the 
English Consul, were present; and President Wilder presided dur- 
ing the toasts, in the intervals of which a band furnished music. 
The Country, the State and the City were first honored; then 
horticulture — and " the increase of glass structures — they per- 
petuate Spring, Summer and Autumn"; the memory of John 
Lowell, Jesse Buel and Thomas G. Fessenden, at which we can 
fancy the gay assembly standing and silent; the Clergy; and of 
course Woman, in a fitting stanza. President Wilder then spoke 
briefly of the Society's flourishing condition and success, which 
he brought out by taking a retrospect, reviewing especially the 
great services of Robert Manning, who had proved and fruited in 
his own grounds nearly three hundred varieties of pears and one 
hundred and eighty-five of apples, eighty of which were of Ameri- 
can origin. He spoke, too, of flowers, and with particular pride of 
the dahlia; and rejoiced that chemistry and botany had of late 
brought a new stimulus to horticulture. More interesting is his 
testimony to the great improvement in the laying out, ornament- 
ing and keeping of the gardens and grounds, in eastern Massa- 
chusetts, the visible and ever extending evidence of the Society's 
work, which Levi Lincoln later declared had influenced the whole 
country. Mr. Lincoln declared that though he had been present 
at the first meeting of the Society, he could not " attempt to com- 
pare that day of small things with this of great ones." General 
Dearborn's speech recalled Gore, John Lowell, the Perkinses and 
Preble, whom he regarded as the pioneers of horticulture in New 
England, because of their gardens and valuable collections 0! fruit 


and forest trees, shrubs and flowers; and paid a generous tribute 
to the earliest energetic members who had followed them. Samuel 
Walker was at length called upon; and after a world of punning 
on " tulips," and a brief review of the peregrinations of the Soci- 
ety since the use of the room on Congress Street, he suggested that 
a temple should be raised to Flora and Pomona. " I said, sir, raise 
a temple. Yes, sir, a temple that shall be an ornament to the City 
of Boston and the future pride of the Commonwealth of Massa- 
chusetts. Sir, the people are with us — our interests are the inter- 
ests of the public, and we have only to say we want a hall of suit- 
able dimensions for our use." The temple was finally erected; but 
it was President Vose who first suggested, early in 1837, that the 
Society should invest its funds in a suitable building. The remain- 
ing toasts were enthusiastic praises of horticulture; and the puns 
on the names of Messrs. Pond, Walker and Marshall Wilder can 
profitably be left to the imagination. 

Doubtless one of the gardens which President Wilder had in 
mind when he spoke was that of the Honorable William Brigham, 
on the east side of Washington Street, between Olive Place and 
Blake's Court. The long, old-fashioned house stood endwise to the 
street, in a lot of about nine thousand square feet. The garden con- 
tained many varieties of flowers, and a very large Isabella grape 
vine. An elephant had died in the city, and his remains were 
buried beneath the young vine, which, favored by the generous 
nourishment, grew over a trellis of many hundred square feet, 
had a trunk more than a foot in diameter, and annually bore from 
five to ten bushels of the finest grapes. There were many trees, use- 
ful and ornamental; but the storm of 1851 which swept the tides 
over the narrow neck, and overturned Minot's Ledge lighthouse, 
washed into and over the little garden; and its waters were fatal. 
Several wheelbarrow loads of earthworms had to be removed after- 
wards. The water was eighteen inches deep on Washington Street, 
and the soil of the garden was never fertile again. 6 

M. P. Wilder had been re-elected president in October, and his 

new term was to begin on the first Saturday in April. There were 

now fifty-one life members, two hundred and thirteen annual, and 

sixty-eight honorary, the last including illustrious names in all 

6 Transactions. M. H. S., March n, 1882. Wm. T. Brigham. 


parts of the world. The Mount Auburn membership, of course, no 
longer existed. The eighty corresponding members had proved to 
be very valuable helpers. A new plate for a diploma had been pro- 
cured, the original one probably having been lost in the fire. No 
copy of the original was known to be in existence during the later 
years of the Society until in 1909 Mrs. Ellen M. Gill presented one 
dated 1831 and signed by President Dearborn. A catalogue of the 
Library, dated January first, 1842, was printed in the Transac- 
tions, and contained only about a hundred and seventy-five titles 
and nearly three hundred volumes. 

In 1842, thanks to David Haggerston, roses came into their 
own, and premiums were provided for two classes: hardy kinds; 
and Bourbon, China, Tea and Noisette. The total amount voted 
for flower premiums was a hundred and fifty dollars; to which, for 
the dahlias, was added the sum of sixty-four remaining from the 
unsuccessful show in October. The roses and peonies at the ex- 
hibition of June the twenty-fifth drew an enthusiastic communica- 
tion to the " New England Farmer," which declared that the shows 
were continually becoming more gorgeous, and that all the con- 
tributors were " too respectable to notice a preference." The 
Flower Committee suggested that liberal prizes for the camellia, 
the fuchsia, the cacti, the erica, and the Chinese azalea would bring 
these flowers to the Society's tables as they had done in the case 
of the peony, the rose, the aster, and the dahlia. The Elizabeth 
pear, received by Robert Manning from Van Mons, was first 
shown here on the twentieth of August; and the Tyson, by Wil- 
liam Oliver, a week later. In September and October came the 
dahlia shows again, the finest yet seen. At the former over a thou- 
sand blooms were shown. 

The fourteenth annual exhibition on the fourteenth, fifteenth 
and sixteenth of September, showed that public interest in horti- 
culture was steadily increasing. In spite of drenching rains, the 
show was very successful: people had fully realized that here 
choice specimens could always be seen; the products of one gar- 
den could be compared with those of another; cultivators could 
compare notes; and mature and authoritative opinions, in regard 
to fruits especially, could here be obtained. Several of the showy 
exhibited plants had been grown in soil to which guano had been 


added, to illustrate experiments made by J. E. Teschemacher, who 
referred to them in his address, — for this year the former custom 
had been revived — at the Swedenborgian Chapel in the morning 
of the sixteenth. The speaker rejoiced that horticulture had taken 
rank as a science, and was no longer a " crude mass of gardeners' 
secrets," but was worthy of the investigation of scientific men. He 
represented the lack of good collections of living plants as the 
great barrier to advance in botany; and said that horticulture in 
America was still in its infancy, but that it was the infancy of a 
giant. One involuntarily thinks at this point of the difficulties en- 
countered over half a century later in convincing some members 
of the Society that scientific methods were of the slightest use to 
practical experience ! 

Concert Hall was tastefully decorated for the dinner, which took 
place on the last day. A huge bouquet, reaching from floor to ceil- 
ing, ornamented each end of the hall, with a tablet inscribed 
" Fourteenth Anniversary of the Massachusetts Horticultural So- 
ciety " over the cornice at the upper end, and another opposite 
with the inscription 

" The world was sad — the garden was a wild! 
And man the hermit sighed — till woman smiled! " 

— for ladies were admitted to the tables for the first time. The 
question of admitting them had been discussed, and objections 
were made on the ground that if they were admitted, wine could 
not be; but the " better judgment prevailed," says the record, — 
mostly through the advocacy of the Honorable William Sturgis, 
to whom be more honor. The small part that woman was expected 
to take in the Society's activities makes strange reading at the 
present day. There is good evidence that her record in the Garden 
of Eden was highly prejudicial in the minds of some of the men 
of old, and we wonder what they would have said if they could 
have looked ahead to the present state of affairs ! 7 Members and 
guests " assembled at five o'clock in an adjoining saloon, and passed 
an hour in mutual congratulations on the occasion, and upon the 
novelty of ladies' being invited to grace the festivities with their 
presence. The doors of the supper-room were opened at six o'clock, 

7 It was not until 1880 that a paper was read before the Society by a lady. 


and immediately the whole company of more than two hundred 
persons took their places at the tables. The tout ensemble now 
presented a scene of unsurpassed beauty and moral sublimity. The 
illumination of the spacious room; the walls covered with festoons 
of flowers; the tables loaded with the most delicious fruits; the 
dulcet notes of a full band of music; and the crowning beauty of 
all — the presence of lovely woman — gave to the whole picture 
more the appearance of Eastern fiction than of sober reality." The 
blessing was invoked by the Reverend Mr. Winslow, and the ban- 
quet proceeded. 

At its end President Wilder arose and announced that there had 
been a greater accession of members than at any time since the 
separation from Mount Auburn; that the patronage of the com- 
munity had so increased that the Society felt straitened in its pres- 
ent location, and contemplated at no distant day the erection of an 
edifice suitable in elegance and convenience to the obvious need. 
After a graceful compliment to the ladies, he proposed a " senti- 
ment " to Daniel Webster which brought forth loud and prolonged 
applause, though the inclement weather had prevented the 
" Marshfield Farmer " from being present. The Mayor of Boston 
spoke gallantly and with genuine humor, ending with the senti- 
ment: "The Modern Garden of Eden, where woman shall still 
be a match for a man, and more than a match for any serpent." 
President Quincy, of Harvard, paid a grateful tribute to the 
founders of the Massachusetts Agricultural Society, " precursor 
and parent of the Horticultural Society," but granted that as for 
dreaming of raising peaches under glass, and grapes in green- 
houses, for sale, " they would have as soon thought of making a 
voyage across the Atlantic, as is now done, in twelve days, by the 
power of steam! " The Reverend Mr. Winslow congratulated the 
President on the " vast improvement he had made in our public 
festival in exchanging the intoxicating cup for the more elevating 
and refining gratification realized by the presence and smiles of 
woman." Sentiments were offered on the disputed boundary mat- 
ter, then of such absorbing interest; and the words of the Honor- 
able Abbott Lawrence, one of the commissioners for settling that 
question, have a decidedly modern interest. He praised the sev- 
enty-year-old Lord Ashburton, who came over and acted like " a 


real man of business," and threw away old-fashioned diplomatic 
forms. " Where there is a will there is a way," he added; such a 
manner of negotiating ought not to be lost on mankind. National 
intercourse can be guided by plain men of business, and does not 
require the intrigues and protocols of past times. Mr. Lawrence 
returned to the subject of horticulture by way of the sound morals 
of flowers; and at length, President Wilder having called upon 
the ladies for sentiments, the two following were sent up: " Bache- 
lors — A tribe of plants which occupy much garden-room, but add 
nothing to the ornament of the parterre," and " The Bachelor's 
Button — as a flower, simple; as an emblem, dangerous. ' Bache- 
lor's Buttons ' can never be ' Ladies' Delights.' " Horace Mann, 
Secretary of the Board of Education, spoke of children and their 
delight in fruits and flowers, and somewhat gravely discussed the 
youthful inclination to steal them. He cited Prussian children as a 
proof that the young can be trained to habits of honesty: goose- 
berries, plums and cherries could hang the whole season within 
their reach by the sidewalks and not be touched ! A letter was read 
from General Dearborn, who for " lamentable reasons " was un- 
able to be present. J. T. Buckingham, President of the Bunker 
Hill Monument Association, then paid a serious and well-deserved 
tribute to the ladies for taking in hand the business of the monu- 
ment's erection. When it had risen fifty or sixty feet it had stopped 
for lack of funds, and all were in despair; but the ladies held a 
fair, and obtained the means necessary for completing it. Then 
came a sentiment by a lady: " As the first Gardener of Eden, in 
his solitude, soon discovered that an Eve was wanting, so our 
horticultural friends, by the rapid march of intellect in six thou- 
sand years, have arrived at the same conclusion," — a well- 
merited reproof, even though too specifically directed. A song of 
ten stanzas of twelve verses each followed — a very detailed trib- 
ute to woman as the " Angel of the Flowers." In serious vein, B. V. 
French spoke gratefully of Van Mons, " the enlightened pomol- 
ogist and philosopher, whose name will be cherished while the 
earth continues to bear fruit"; and C. M. Hovey, editor of the 
" Magazine of Horticulture," acknowledged the great debt owed to 
the kindness of the London Horticultural Society, and proposed 
a toast to it as the great parent of all similar associations through- 


out the world. One of the last toasts was to the " chief Marshal 
of the evening — who can display such skill in subduing the wild 
flowers of the forest, though he himself is Wilder." The assistance 
of italics is always provided in the records in order that the reader 
need not be puzzled. Another, to the same, was " The President 
of the Horticultural Society: to the intelligence of the merchant 
and the skill of the horticulturist he adds the liberality of a prince, 
the manners of a gentleman, and the virtues of a Christian." 

At a meeting on the twenty-fourth of September, the Nominat- 
ing Committee was instructed to try not to nominate any members 
for more than one committee, — which is perhaps evidence of in- 
creasing specialization; and an invitation was accepted to send 
delegates to the annual exhibition of the American Institute of 
New York. In October, A. H. Ernst, of Cincinnati, a correspond- 
ing member, sent plants of the Ohio everbearing raspberry and 
some peach and pear trees to ascertain how western fruits would 
sustain their character in our more rigorous latitude. Robert Man- 
ning had told him that they degenerated in transfer, but he could 
not concur, and asked for a fair trial. Ernst also sent " one of the 
most valuable sweet apples ever exhibited by the Society," and 
was thanked for this kind of zeal and exertion, which enabled the 
Society to accomplish its objects. 

On the fifth of November, 1842, resolutions were passed on the 
death of Robert Manning, of Salem. These were short and formal; 
but enough has been said before, and since, at dinners and in lec- 
tures and committee reports, of his immense value to early horti- 
culture. The pomological garden in Salem was in reality a labora- 
tory for testing, proving and selecting fruits, of which there were 
nearly two thousand varieties there, and Manning was a man of 
such rare devotion, industry and perception that it was hardly too 
great praise to call him, as had been done by his collaborators, the 
Van Mons or the Knight of America. To his son of the same name 
later fell the task of continuing the father's work, and especially 
that part of it which dealt with nomenclature, then, as we know, a 
bewildering matter. By an arrangement with the Manning family. 

their collection of fruit trees was preserved for the benefit of the 
Society in the identification of new varieties. 

In January, 1843, ^ u> condition of the Library was looked into. 


and recommendations were made to fill up defective sets of works, 
such as Loudon's " Gardener's Magazine," to subscribe for more 
horticultural publications, and to make about a dozen specific pur- 
chases of books. The sum of a hundred and fifty dollars was voted 
as an annual appropriation. 

The weekly shows — which were regarded as the best means at 
the Society's command of diffusing knowledge and announcing 
varieties most worthy of cultivation — continued in 1843 to draw 
great interest. On the twentieth of May the Bon Silene rose was 
exhibited by J. F. Allen; on July the fifth, strawberries were 
shown in profusion, the great berries of Hovey's seedling being 
again the winners ; and two weeks later a splendid show of cherries 
was declared the best yet made. On July the twenty-ninth the 
Public Garden sent in a striking plant of the new blue-flowered 
Achimenes longiflora. Many new fruits appeared, the most inter- 
esting being the Diana grape, from the garden of Mrs. Diana 
Crehore. Apples, pears, peaches, and to some extent plums also, 
had been built in America on modified descendants of old Euro- 
pean species ; but in the case of the grape it should be remembered 
that European stock had been wholly abandoned, and culture 
founded on indigenous species, — of which twenty grow wild. 8 
The Diana was thus an important addition. The Laurence pear, 
the Doyenne Boussock, the Mother apple and the Lady's Sweet 
were other exhibits of great interest at the weekly exhibitions. 
The annual exhibition from the thirteenth through the fifteenth of 
September was held in the Society's room. The dahlia blooms had 
failed, and were greatly missed; but asters were good, and some 
noble palms were contributed by J. P. Cushing. J. E. Tesche- 
macher sent from the Public Garden conservatory many beautiful 
plants, demonstrating the effect of guano on the color and size of 
the foliage, and also camellias treated with pulverized wood char- 
coal. Bunker Hill Monument in asters was exhibited by S. Sweet- 
ser. The fruits, particularly the pears and plums, which were 
shown in more varieties than ever before, were unusually good. 
The annual dinner was held on the fifteenth at the Pavilion, but 

8 " Florists' Exchange," N. Y., March 30, 1895, p. 387 ff. Adlum, the introducer 
of the Catawba, was the first to see that a beginning must be made with native 
species, and his attempt to establish an experiment station reminds the reader of 
the misfortunes of Van Mons. 


only for the Committee of Arrangements and guests from the New 
York Institute. But the dinner was described as most sumptuous; 
and the Reverend Mr. Choules expressed himself as glad to know 
that in New England there was no such prejudice against the 
clergy because of their attending cattle shows and agricultural ex- 
hibitions as existed in some parts of New York State. This prej- 
udice he attributed to a want of taste for such pursuits, and ex- 
pressed the belief that Boston was far ahead of any other part of 
the country in horticulture. Gaiety and wit followed, with " Auld 
Lang Syne " at the end. It is interesting to note that A. H. Ernst 
was present as representative of the recently established Cincin- 
nati Society, which he said looked to the Mother Vine in the East 
for information. 

The premium list of 1844 was more elaborate and specific than 
in previous years, and printed copies were distributed among the 
members for the first time. On the first of June, the Northern Spy 
apple was sent from Ellwanger and Barry, of Rochester, New 
York; and throughout the season magnificent peaches and plums 
came to the hall, in spite of the discouragement in regard to the 
culture of the plum because of the curculio. Some of the Royal 
George Clingstone peaches in June were eleven inches in circum- 
ference; and on the thirty-first of August there were about seventy 
dishes representing thirty varieties of plums, one of them being 
Manning's Jefferson, originated by Buel, and exhibited for the first 
time. The great quantities of pears, apples, and indeed all fruits 
in this favorable year literally filled the hall to overflowing at the 
annual exhibition, for room could not be found for all, and only 
specimens of many were shown. Even vegetables, about which 
discouragement had been expressed for several years by the Com- 
mittee, were this year better represented, though the Committee 
still regretted that a " just proportion " of the premium money was 
not granted to them. It is needless to say that President Wilder, 
Elijah Vose, B. V. French, Cheever Newhall, J. P. dishing, J. F. 
Allen and the Manning Garden at Salem were very largely ac- 
countable for the great fruit exhibits; and in that of President 
Wilder we see for the first time the Beurre d'Anjou pear. Flowers 

'■' Their share was only sixtj dollar- in 1844, while fruits and Qowera had two 
hundred each. 


had been somewhat crowded out, which did not so much matter 
this year because of the extreme drought; but the dahlias, asters 
and roses could not be suppressed and there was a rich display 
of these. Unfortunately premiums had been offered for " orna- 
mental designs," which were " perhaps as good as could be ex- 
pected for the first efforts." One, because of lack of space, had to 
be exhibited in separate pieces, which consisted of a spread eagle, 
a star composed of asters, and a large vase, covered with moss 
and evergreen, and filled with flowers. John A. Kenrick also ex- 
hibited a spread eagle of asters — the beak and legs being " finely 
executed in wood," — which held in its beak a string of mountain 
ash berries, and stood upon a pedestal of Clematis virginiana 
flowers. There were also stars and a wreath; and two Bunker Hill 
Monuments of pansies and moss. It is easy today to smile at this 
taste; but we must remember that horticulture was then a new art 
in America, and that the sins of the fathers are inexorably visited 
upon the children. Not many generations had passed since in Eng- 
land trees and gardens were twisted and sheared into obelisks and 
giants, peacocks and flowers-pots, 10 to speak of nothing else. The 
end was not yet; many years were to elapse before the scarlet ket- 
tle with its nasturtiums disappeared from suburban front yards; 
and the superannuated dory filled with flowers may still be seen 
in Gloucester. A gratifying circumstance at the anniversary was 
the exhibition of dahlias, asters and cockscombs by a member of 
another society, William R. Prince, of Flushing; and the Commit- 
tee suggested that such interchange of visits would have a very 
happy effect. 

The first era, the " era of collection " as Marshall P. Wilder 
called it, was now over. It has not been possible to bring out ade- 
quately the immense amount of toil and patience spent in collec- 
tion, selection and rejection, of fruits and flowers, for we must 
remember that great as the number of the " select " was, the num- 
ber of those as faithfully tried and found wanting was many times 
greater. No new thing could escape the investigation of the Society 
— " the cultivators of pears," says one report, " were all on tiptoe 
to see and learn something of the ' lion of the day,' the ' Van Mons 
Leon le Clerc ' pear " — and if a foreign novelty commanded a 

10 See Disraeli, Curiosities of Literature, " Literary Follies." 


huge price, somehow or other it was always paid. This labor and 
devotion upon which horticulture has built its magnificent struc- 
ture seems very suggestive indeed of the spirit which founded the 
nation itself; and if the immediate results look crude to modern 
eyes, one who reads the records attentively cannot fail to per- 
ceive what they cost. 

" Down from your heaven or up from your mould, 
Send us the hearts of our fathers of old! " 

Chapter VI • 1 844-1 845 

EARLY in January, 1844, a committee appointed the previ- 
ous August reported that the Society had purchased from 
the city the Latin School House, with its 3000 feet of land 
on School Street, for eighteen thousand dollars. A building com- 
mittee thereupon took up the " alterations " on the new estate; 
but it was not long before the idea of adapting the school house 
was abandoned, and a new building decided upon. On September 
the fourteenth the Society adjourned to the site of the building, 
and President Wilder laid the stone at the northwest corner. In 
it was deposited a plate of silver eight by six inches in size, en- 
graved on the obverse with the name of the Society, the date of 
its incorporation, the number of members (420), and the names 
of the officers and committees. On the reverse were the words: 
" This edifice is erected by the Massachusetts Horticultural Soci- 
ety, for the purpose of encouraging and improving the Science and 
Practice of Horticulture. This Corner Stone laid on the 14th day 
of September, 1844," followed by the name of the architect (Rich- 
ard Bond), those of the builders (Gardner Greenleaf, Nathaniel 
Adams, C. W. Cushing, Willard Sears, and Jonas Fitch), and the 
words " To this Society, the Community are indebted for the 
Foundation and Consecration of Mount Auburn Cemetery." With 
this plate were deposited the transactions, addresses and other 
documents; a phial hermetically sealed and encased in powdered 
charcoal containing a great variety of flower, fruit and vegetable 
seeds; various horticultural, agricultural and political papers of 
the day; and a variety of United States coins. The whole was 
sealed up in a leaden box and placed in the stone, and the large 
column designed to stand upon it was lowered into place. The 
President then briefly reviewed the progress of the Society, and 
referred to the patronage of the community now so much greater 
than the most sanguine expectations had foreshadowed; its efforts 
in disseminating the love of horticulture; the improved character 


and unexampled increase of fruits and flowers and the universal 
taste for gardening inspired by its members ; the active emulation 
excited by its exhibitions; and the great accomplished work, 
Mount Auburn. 

The new building was dedicated on the evening of the fifteenth 
of May, 1845. The hall itself was decorated with acacias and fuch- 
sias, pelargoniums, a gorgeous Madame Desprez rose tree ten 
feet high covered with several hundred blooms, ericas, cactuses 
and many small plants, a basket of flowers upon the piano, and 
great bouquets upon the wall. With President Wilder upon the 
platform were John Quincy Adams, Governor Briggs, Lieutenant- 
Governor Reed, ex-Governor Armstrong, ex-Mayor Brimmer, 
James Arnold, Samuel Hoar, S. H. Walley, Jr., and a few others. 
After the introductory words of the President and scripture- 
reading and prayer by the clergy, a lady in the character of the 
Queen of Flowers, and her attendant spirits, sang a kind of an- 
tiphonal poem, composed for the occasion, in which Flora invites 
her subjects to her realm of the seasons, and they respond obedi- 
ently. A hymn written for the occasion by the Rev. William Cros- 
well was then sung, — the last stanza of which, in connection with 
the " Invitation of Flora " which preceded it, seems to touch the 
note of the whole occasion: 

" Nor let the influence rest, till all 
The dear delights in Eden nursed, 
Recovered from their primal fall, 
Like these, shine brightly as at first; 
Till man himself, redeemed from stain, 
His heaven-taught work in Christ complete; 
And, through one greater man, regain 
An entrance to the blissful seat." 

The principal address was delivered by the Honorable George 
Lunt, of Newburyport. He told the assembly that they could easily 
get information elsewhere; his office was to welcome them to the 
new temple of fruits and flowers; and he then with much feeling 
outlined the great debt to flowers owed by all mankind — children, 
the aged, poets, and philosophers. Literature, he observed, would 
without them have no materials. " Perhaps it is too much to say." he 
continued, " that for our use and pleasure alone were created these 


loveliest objects of the natural world. Perhaps spiritual creatures 
walk about unseen ; and we do not know how far inferior orders of 
being are susceptible to enjoyment from the same sources as our- 
selves." There is certainly a touch of ' good St. Francis of Assisi ' 
in this Rosicrucian suggestion; and no doubt the popular vogue 
in literature of such men as Shenstone — who cultivated a garden, 
we are told, as a matter of vanity — was yielding to the far-reach- 
ing influence of Wordsworth, who had been poet laureate only two 
years. It is certain that the address was characterized by en- 
thusiastic hearers as " truly poetical and highly classical," and 
" worthy of promulgation for the honor of the literature of our 

A general idea of Horticultural Hall — previous quarters had 
been referred to as " the horticultural hall," or " rooms," and the 
difference in dignity and influence is significant — can best be ob- 
tained from the accompanying illustration. The front was of gran- 
ite. Back of the store, with an entrance on Chapman Place and 
later one from the seed store, was the Library, which served also 
as a committee-room. The main hall, on the second story, was 
ninety by thirty-one feet, and twenty-five feet high; — this may 
be compared with the small exhibition hall in the present building, 
whose dimensions are fifty-seven by twenty-eight feet, and 
twenty-eight and a half feet high. Thus the first hall was roughly a 
third again as long. Access to it was from the rear entrance through 
a passageway and by stairs to a door opening on the right as one 
faced the rear of the hall. The rear was semicircular, and em- 
braced a stand of receding stages for the exhibition of plants, on 
the two sides of which were a statue of Hebe and one of a dancing 
girl. The exhibition tables ran the length of the hall, three tables 
in all, and flower stands occupied the street end in the light of 
the large northern windows. A clock for the hall had been given 
in April by John J. Low; and this gift was followed in June by a 
pair of beautiful Chinese vases from Josiah Bradlee. 

In 1845 the sum appropriated for premiums was raised from 
four hundred and sixty dollars to twelve hundred dollars: one 
hundred and fifty for vegetables, four hundred each for flowers and 
fruits, — and two hundred and fifty for " designs." A few days 
before the annual exhibition, a special committee had reported 

The First Horticultural Hall, School Street 


that most societies had adopted the system of awarding medals 
instead of money, and recommended that dies for a gold and a 
silver " Society's Medal " should be obtained and the medals in- 
cluded in the lists of the standing committees. But this innovation 
was fully adopted, as we shall see, only after long years of dif- 
ference of opinion on the propriety of pecuniary awards. Season 
tickets were issued, and of course involved unremitting efforts to 
keep the weekly shows interesting. As a result, the latter became 
more elaborate than ever. They were held in the Library until the 
great hall was ready, and were notable for the interest in small 
fruits, particularly strawberries, of which many new varieties ap- 
peared. New French and English varieties of roses had been 
closely watched for and cultivated, and hardy rhododendrons and 
azaleas were increasing. Stephanotis floribunda and Arundo 
Donax striata were exhibited, and some enormous tomatoes of 
over three pounds in weight — of course of the old, wrinkled 
variety, for the smooth skin was a later achievement. At the an- 
nual exhibition on September the sixteenth and the two following 
days the front entrance staircase was covered with evergreen, and 
at the further end of the hall stood a Grecian floral temple, seven 
feet wide and fifteen high, on a hexagonal base, with six wreathed 
columns which supported the ribs of the dome and an entablature 
of white eternal flowers upon which, in purple amaranths, were the 
words " Dedicated to Flora." In the centre of the base was an imi- 
tation in inlaid purple asters of a vase. Near this stood a Chinese 
temple of three stories, slightly narrower and considerably higher, 
constructed of moss, evergreens and various flowers, and topped 
by a pyramid of flowers. Behind the temples were evergreens and 
pot plants, before which stood a table of fruit. On the sides of the 
hall were the smaller designs and large bouquets, and around the 
clock a wreath; and at the north end was a Gothic pyramid five 
feet in diameter and eighteen high, surmounted by a cross. The 
ground work of this was of green moss, inlaid with asters, mari- 
golds, amaranths and other flowers, " so well executed as to have 
the appearance of mosaic work." The cut flowers were mostly 
asters, which, because of a dry summer, for the first time eclipsed 
the dahlias. The fruit collection was very large, ami contained 
magnificent specimens. M. P. Wilder showed a hundred ami 


twenty varieties of pears, and Robert Manning two hundred and 
forty, among which were large specimens of Van Mons Leon le 
Clerc; B. V. French and J. Deane sent forty and about sixty varie- 
ties of apples respectively; and the Hoveys sent Black Hamburgh 
grapes with " berries perfectly black and as large as plums." The 
vegetables were again a disappointment, being even fewer than 
usual; but we may note that President Wilder did not personally 
neglect this interest. The designs, besides those described above, 
were: from W. Kenrick a harp of evergreen frame and strings 
of wintergreen and arborvitae ; an ancient lyre from which grapes 
were suspended ; a spread eagle of variously colored asters holding 
in his beak a string of beads made of rose hips; from E. A. Story 
a plough made principally of asters, with the motto " By the 
plough we live. Flora follows the plough "; and from Miss Russell 
a Newfoundland dog carrying a basket of flowers — " his cover- 
ing executed with pressed black hollyhocks, and greyish moss to 
imitate spots." Thus we know how to be grateful to S. A. Walker 
for his " ninety feet of beautiful wreathing " — which received a 
premium of ten dollars, while the dog received a gratuity of six. 

A description of the festival, held at Faneuil Hall on the 
evening of the nineteenth, occupies thirty-four closely-printed 
pages of the Transactions ; for it was in accordance with the oc- 
casion, and many speeches are included entire. Forest trees filled 
the spaces between the pillars of the galleries, the panels were 
festooned, and the columns were entwined with flowers. An in- 
scription upon an arch at the east end of the gallery read " Massa- 
chusetts Horticultural Society, Seventeenth Annual Exhibition," 
and suspended from the portraits of Washington and Peter 
Faneuil at the west end was the legend: 

" In flowers and blossoms one is wont to trace 
Emblems of woman's virtue and her grace." 

The panels around the gallery bore the names Linnaeus, Jussieu, 
Loudon, Knight, Van Mons, De Candolle, Duhamel, Douglas, 
Plumier, Lowell, Buel, Fessenden, Manning, Prince and Michaux. 
There were thirteen tables, with about six hundred persons pres- 
ent. On the right of President Wilder sat the venerable widow of 
Alexander Hamilton; and on the rostrum in front were seated 


Daniel Webster, ex-President Quincy, R. C. Winthrop, Caleb 
Cushing, J. G. Palfrey, and other distinguished men. 

The company had just become seated when the Chief Marshal 
came and spoke to the President, and the latter, rising, announced 
the arrival of Edward Everett, who had that morning reached the 
shores of New England after several years as our ambassador at 
the Court of St. James. The company arose as Mr. Everett was 
conducted to the rostrum and presented to the President; and as 
Mr. Wilder turned and announced the distinguished member, the 
historic Hall echoed with acclamations to the well-beloved and 
honored name. The banquet then proceeded, doubtless with 
heightened vivacity; and when finally "a reasonable time had 
been thus spent," President Wilder addressed the meeting briefly, 
speaking of the benefits of horticulture, and the progress and 
condition of the Society. Sixteen years before, he said, the baskets 
and dishes of fruits at the exhibition numbered less than a hun- 
dred, and the amount of the premiums less than two hundred 
dollars. At the present anniversary there were fourteen hundred 
dishes of fruits, and over thirteen hundred dollars in premiums. 
Robert Manning, the great pomologist of America, had then sent 
one basket of peaches, while this year his family had sent two 
hundred and forty varieties of pears; and similar advances had 
been made by other members. The President congratulated the 
Society on its continued growth in membership, usefulness and 
prestige, and on the harmony and union that prevailed among 
its members. The usual formal toasts followed, — that to Massa- 
chusetts being " the land of granite and ice, of fruit and flowers, 
of arts and men; the stern mother who rears her children by a 
rugged discipline; the generous mother who endows them with 
bountiful gifts of mind, body and estate." When the turn came 
to Mr. Everett he was received with loud cheering. In humorous 
but deeply sincere words he said that he had received his invita- 
tion to the dinner before setting foot on terra firma. and had been 
so lately rocking upon the Atlantic that he had now almost un- 
consciously caught at the table to steady himself, expecting that 
the flowers and fruits would fetch away in some lee lurch, and 
even the pillars of old Faneuil Hall, not often found out i)i the 
true plumb line, seemed to reel over his head. Hut seeing the well- 


remembered faces, he felt at length that he was at home. The 
grateful feeling had been growing on his mind for some days, — 
when the vessel reached the Grand Bank, the shores of Newfound- 
land and Nova Scotia; and when at sunrise this morning, coming 
down from Halifax against a stiff southwester, he saw Cape Ann 
lighthouse in the misty distance, he thought it one of the most 
beautiful pieces of architecture he had ever beheld. He could not 
describe the emotions awakened in his mind by the different ob- 
jects on the well-known coast, nor finally by the sight of Boston, 
enthroned between her sister hills and presenting within her 
family embrace every spot dear to a man on earth, — all that the 
sacred name of home comprehends. He wished to repose, and 
to listen to others. The President next called upon " The Marsh- 
field Farmer — 'all head in counsel, all wisdom in speech'; 
always ready to defend the soil and to make the soil more and 
more worth defending "; and the Honorable Daniel Webster arose 
and spoke as follows: 

" There are far better farmers in Marshfield than I am, but 
as I see none of them present, I suppose I am bound to take the 
compliment to myself. Mr. President, I had the honor of par- 
taking in the origin and organization of this Society, and you 
will bear me witness that it was then a dear and cherished object 
to me. ... I have seen with pleasure and delight the continued 
progress of the institution. ... It is our fortune in New Eng- 
land to live beneath a somewhat rugged sky and till a somewhat 
hard and unyielding earth; but something of hardness, of un- 
favorable condition and circumstances seems necessary to excite 
human genius, labor and skill, and bring forth the results most 
useful and honorable to man. I greatly doubt whether all the 
luxuriance of the tropics, and all that grows under the fervid sky 
of the equator, can equal the exhibition of flowers made today, 
amid these northern latitudes. . . . The botany we cultivate, the 
productions of the business of horticulture, the plants of the 
garden, are cultivated with us by hands as delicate as their own 
tendrils, viewed by countenances as spotless and pure as their 
own petals, and watched by eyes as brilliant and full of lustre as 
their own beautiful exhibitions of splendor. (Applause.) Horti- 
culture is one pursuit of natural science in which all sexes, ages 


and degrees of education and refinement unite. Nothing is too 
polished to see the beauty of flowers, nothing too rough to be 
capable of enjoying them. ... It seems to be a common field 
where every degree of taste and refinement may unite and find 
opportunities for their gratification. . . . Mr. President, we who 
belong to the class of farmers are compelled to bring nothing but 
our applause to those whose taste, condition and position enable 
them to contribute these horticultural excellencies which we see 
around us. But the honor belongs to the State, and I shall not 
trespass beyond the bounds of reason and justice if I say that 
there could nowhere, nowhere be a more perfect and tasteful ex- 
hibition of horticultural products than we have witnessed in this 
town the present week. Let this good work speed. May this useful 
and good work go on prospering and to prosper. As we live in a 
country which produces a race of hard-working men, and the 
most useful fruits of the earth, so let us show every year that it is 
not less productive of beautiful flowers, as it certainly is not of 
graceful hands to wreathe and entwine them." (Applause.) 

A song written by the Honorable George Lunt followed, then 
toasts, including the Mayor, the Society, Faneuil Hall, Harvard 
University — to which last Josiah Quincy responded with a wise 
word on the blessings of well-directed industry, of which the 
Society's results were so striking an example. There were other 
songs, toasts and stories; a witty speech from Robert C. Win- 
throp; another from Caleb Cushing, late minister to China, in 
which he paid beautiful tribute to " woman, — our equal — shall 
I not say our moral superior," and which brought out other toasts 
with the inevitable puns. Then came " Our Merchant Princes "; 
and President Wilder read a letter from Samuel Appleton in which 
was enclosed one thousand dollars, " to be invested as a per- 
manent fund, the interest accruing therefrom to be appropriated 
annually in premiums for improvements in the arts to which the 
Society is devoted, in such manner as it shall direct, for producing 
Trees good for food, and Flowers pleasant to the sight." This 
gift came without solicitation, and as though in answer to the need 
of a sum for the gold and silver medals. 

At this point Daniel Webster again arose, and said. w Ladies 
and gentlemen, I have obtained leave of the President to remind 


this company that a venerable lady honors this occasion with her 
presence. She is the daughter of General Philip Schuyler of the 
Revolutionary Army, and the widow of Alexander Hamilton." 
When the loud and continued cheering which followed this an- 
nouncement had ended, he continued: " And, ladies and gentle- 
men, while devoted revolutionary services shall be remembered, 
and while great administrative talent finds a voice to sound its 
praises in our republic, neither one nor the other of these great 
names will be forgotten, nor can she cease to be held in the grate- 
ful remembrance of this republic who was the daughter of one 
and the bosom companion of the other. I propose to you the 
health, prosperity and long life of Mrs. Hamilton." President 
Wilder thereupon, at Mrs. Hamilton's request, returned her 
thanks for her cordial reception and sincerely reciprocated the 
sentiment expressed. 

The mood of the assembly was then diverted by a very witty 
speech from the young mayor, Jonathan Chapman, for which, 
alas, we cannot claim the space to give entire; but perhaps a short 
quotation will indicate its peculiar merits. " And then the topic 
appropriate to the occasion — what chance is there for anything 
new? There is the garden of Eden — a capital thing in its 
primeval state; but such hosts of invaders have taken possession 
of it that its guardian angel must have slept upon his post, and 
there is no room for another settler. Fruits and flowers have been 
so thoroughly sung that they have almost withered before the 
quantity of wind that has been blown upon them. And as for 
woman, she has been so often toasted, that as some wag once 
remarked, our directory would soon contain no other name than 
that of Brown." After a toast from the Honorable Mr. Meigs, 
representative of the American Institute, Mrs. Hamilton and 
several others of the distinguished guests withdrew. The Presi- 
dent then, in a few words, recalled the founding and dedication of 
Mount Auburn, and offered the sentiment " The Memory of 
Joseph Story." This was received in appropriate silence, and the 
band played Pleyel's Hymn. The speeches continued, in spite of 
the lateness of the hour, from representatives of other societies, 
and were mostly devoted to the praises and triumphs of horti- 
culture; another song written for the occasion was sung; and 


more toasts were offered. C. M. Hovey, editor of the Magazine of 
Horticulture, ably represented the publication, and warmly 
eulogized John Lowell, whose time, talents and money he declared 
were given with prodigality to the spread of information upon 
every branch of horticulture, and whose essays and papers on 
agricultural subjects were legion. He recalled that by Lowell many 
of the fruits now most esteemed were, through his correspondence 
with Knight of England, received, reared and disseminated. Judge 
Buel and his " Cultivator" he also praised, and Fessenden; but 
to Loudon he gave the greatest praise and credit for the ver- 
satility and influence of his works, calling him the Walter Scott 
of horticultural literature. The President and other eminent mem- 
bers were then toasted; and the brilliant festival was at an end. 
The memory of it must have remained for the lifetimes of those 
who were present and must have served in no small degree to 
insure that " harmony and union " upon which President Wilder 
had congratulated them. 

Chapter VII • 1846-1860. DEVELOPMENT 

EARLY in January, 1846, the Society received from Mount 
Auburn the sum of $2,733.71, a decrease of about six hun- 
dred dollars from the year before. Other items of interest 
financially and otherwise were a gift of one thousand dollars from 
John A. Lowell in February and one of the same amount from 
Theodore Lyman in August. The income of the former, like that 
of the Appleton gift, was voted for medals to be called by the 
donor's name; and the latter was given the name of the Lyman 
fund, and its income destined for medals or plate, as might be 
directed. In February special recognition was made of extraor- 
dinary results attained in the cultivation of camellias, roses, 
and the strawberry. President Wilder had exhibited five seedling 
camellias on the fourteenth; and two of them — afterwards called 
Wilderi and Mrs. Abby Wilder, the latter name bestowed by the 
Flower Committee — were adjudged of such surpassing beauty 
and perfection that a piece of plate of the value of fifty dollars 
was voted to him; to the Hoveys was voted a silver pitcher of the 
same value for their " Hovey's Seedling " strawberry, still in the 
lead after twelve years of trial; and to Samuel Feast, of Balti- 
more, was awarded the Society's gold medal for the valuable 
roses he had produced by cross impregnation, particularly the 
Queen of the Fairies. We learn from the Reports of the Committee 
and the Treasurer that the total cost of the new building and the 
expenses connected with it was $37,682.78; that the amount of 
the mortgage was $15,000; and that the furnishing of the library, 
the prizes, the dedication and festival and all other expenses 
for the year, had been paid by the income from membership, sale 
of tickets, and fees of admission. 

In the schedule for 1846 appeared twenty special prizes for 
fruit, representing one third of a gift of three hundred dollars 
from John P. Cushing to be distributed over three years. The 
object of this donation was of course to bring out the best va- 


rieties; and we find, in the other departments of the Society's 
exhibitions, a constant enthusiasm. New varieties of strawberries 
appeared, and the exhibits of flowers, especially roses, were so 
extensive that already space failed them in the new hall. Solfa- 
terre was one of them, and from President Wilder came the re- 
sults of hybridizing the beautiful new Japanese lilies. The 
Doyenne d'Ete pear was brought out this year ; and in vegetables 
the Winships exhibited five bunches of asparagus, as a means of 
showing the relative values of the five different fertilizers with 
which they had been treated, of which guano proved the best. 
This experiment, after J. E. Teschemacher's address in 1842, 
suggests the value of the " lecture " which was to be so fully ap- 
preciated in later years. The annual exhibition on the sixteenth 
through the eighteenth of September again taxed the capacity of 
the hall, though the exhibits themselves, judiciously placed, were 
the only ornamentation except four marble statues represent- 
ing the seasons, on the central fruit table, and the Society's vases. 
The usual good display of dahlias was again impossible because 
of heat, drought, insects, and at last a destructive wind, and even 
the asters had been almost ruined; but the exhibition taken as a 
whole was called as attractive as ever. The " designs " consisted 
of " a very beautiful and chaste Grecian floral temple, supported 
by eight pillars in correct architectural style, finished with moss 
and flowers "; a Swiss cottage; a Chinese pagoda, with a politely 
bowing China tea merchant in the centre; a Gothic monument 
fourteen feet high — " the architecture of this design being per- 
fect "; a Gothic bower, placed at the door to the private stairway; 
a floral lyre; and several flat designs, some bearing legends. There 
seems to have been no Newfoundland dog this year. Early the 
next year the premiums for large designs were dispensed with in 
the name of good taste, yet with a tactful statement that pagodas 
and temples were architects' work; but these constructions re- 
appeared ten years later. The Vegetable Committee again " re- 
gretted to report " that the exhibition of vegetables was meagre, 
notwithstanding their important place in horticulture. J. L. L. F. 
Warren exhibited a pyramidal bouquet composed of corn, cab- 
bages, carrots, beets and asparagus, which stood in one of the 
new marble vases, and was called " curious and unique." 


In 1847 the " great diffusion of horticulture " and the " munifi- 
cent patronage " from the public seemed to justify the Society 
in beginning to issue regular volumes of transactions, — a plan 
conceived at the outset by General Dearborn. A large amount of 
knowledge and experience had been accumulated, and the public 
had earned a right to share it in return for their " unsparing 
patronage." The numbers of different pears at exhibitions for the 
past four years were taken as a criterion: 735 from the Mannings, 
137 from the Winships, 476 from M. P. Wilder, 94 from Samuel 
Walker, 21 from Ebenezer Wight, 132 from Otis Johnson, 68 
from J. L. L. F. Warren, 177 from J. S. Cabot, 106 from Josiah 
Lowell, 2nd, and 35 from the Hoveys. We are not surprised to find, 
therefore, that the first volume was a splendidly printed book, 
containing beautiful full-page chromolithed plates of the Van 
Mons Leon le Clerc pear, the Dix, the Andrews, the Tyson, the 
Beurre d'Aremberg, Dearborn's Seedling, and the Heathcot; 
Wilder's two beautiful camellias; the Williams' apple, the Bald- 
win and the Red Astrachan apples; and a sprig of Samuel 
Downer's late cherries. These were accompanied by full descrip- 
tions and discussions, and by a historical sketch of the Society 
by General Dearborn. It is perhaps needless to say that this am- 
bitious scheme was not followed in succeeding years; indeed the 
need of it, like that of the experimental garden, was certain to 
pass. A few years later were published the proceedings of the 
Society, and thereafter the investigator is spared the necessity of 
going to scattered sources, and of delving into the ill-printed, ill- 
corrected, but nobly serviceable " New England Farmer." On 
April the tenth it was voted that " the materials of the Society 
will in future be wanted for its own work, and will not be allowed 
to be used for any other publication," but this resolution was not 
immediately lived up to. It is interesting to note that in February 
the President was asked to petition the Legislature to extend the 
same patronage to the Society that it did to the agricultural 
societies, for general purposes, and especially for publishing the 
Transactions; but it was not until many years later that through 
Robert Manning's patient work convincing grounds for the claim 
were presented, and a sum granted. 

The property of the Society was now $42,035, and the only 


debt the mortgage, dated May the eighteenth, 1844, and payable 
in five years. This was, of course, to be met by the proceeds from 
Mount Auburn. The Committee on Medals were instructed to 
procure dies, and to make the Lowell medals correspond to the 
Applet on in size and value. A conscientious study of foreign 
medals was made, and the Society's medal of 1848 is the one still 
used; but no specimen of the Lowell medal seems to have sur- 
vived. In October, 1848, the Committee put specimens of the new 
medals into the Treasurer's hands. The die was made by Francis 
N. Mitchell. The premium list for the coming year amounted to 
$1,350; but besides this appeared for the first time a list of 
prospective premiums, of which the Society has since made such 
stimulating use: gold medals and plate for certain "objects to 
be originated subsequent to 1846 which shall, after a trial of five 
years, be deemed equal or superior in quality or other character- 
istics to any now extant." These prizes were apparently suggested 
by the work of Messrs. Wilder, Feast and Hovey with the camel- 
lia, strawberry and rose. Seven were for fruits, five for flowers and 
shrubs, and one for a vegetable, the potato. Fifty dollars was voted 
in January for the salary of the Librarian, R. M. Copeland, and 
three hundred for books. Later a recommendation of certain spe- 
cific titles was made by the Committee. The library room was to 
be open from eleven to one every Saturday of the year. An item of 
human interest is the letter received in May from one James W. 
Clarkey demanding the sum of one hundred dollars for damages 
to his wife, who fell through the scuttle of the Society's cellar ; but 
we are glad to find that these damages were later placed at forty 
dollars, which the Society paid. 

The opening of the Hall for the exhibitions was this year post- 
poned until the fifteenth of May because of the " unusual " back- 
wardness of the season. But the display was then one of the finest 
in greenhouse plants ever held, and especially rich in new things. 
The Brecks and Winships vied in hardy flowers, President Wilder 
sent new gladioli, azaleas, and other things from his greenhouse, 
John A. Lowell sent the " Pitcher plant," the beautiful cattleya 
intermedia, and other curious and rare plants, and J. F. Allen 
sent from Salem twelve varieties of the best grapes. On the twenty- 
sixth of June, Allen exhibited twenty-two varieties of grapes 


again, the result in part of a test of four hundred varieties. The 
annual exhibition in September was attended by delegations from 
nine sister societies in the east, who on the final day assisted in 
the testing of fruits exhibited. These were finer and more numer- 
ous, particularly the pears and grapes, than ever before in the 
Society's history. Pot plants, perhaps from insufficient encour- 
agement in premiums, were noticeably lacking, but dahlias and 
asters were perfect. The weather was favorable and the Hall was 
filled to its capacity with visitors, but the chairman of the Com- 
mittee of Arrangements apologized to many for whose exhibits 
no room could be found, and recommended Faneuil Hall for 

The dahlia show in October was also " the best ever witnessed." 
Even Samuel Walker was speechless, who had said of the June 
exhibition, " On no former occasion did our weekly exhibition 
present more to admire. If we turn aside for a moment to pay 
our court and respect to our lovely Flora, seated upon her rose- 
scented couch, our excuse must be that we found her tete-a-tete 
with our beloved Pomona — Flora, surrounded by her thousand 
handmaids, introduced us to the generous Pomona. It is our humble 
duty to describe what we saw at her court; and although it is 
almost as difficult to perform as it is pleasant to contemplate — 
we shall proceed to our task by stating that the tables were 
strewed with Grapes, Peaches, Nectarines, Figs, Plums and 
Strawberries." The delegates present at the annual exhibition 
were entertained by the vice-presidents of the Society; and the 
friendly interchange of visits thus begun has continued through 
the years. On the thirtieth of October certain rules of American 
pomology were formally adopted by the Society. These had to do 
with the naming of new fruits. The privilege of naming was 
granted to the originator, first grower or introducer, but on con- 
dition that the fruit should first be described publicly by a com- 
petent person; that no name should consist of over two words, 
besides the originator's name; and that all harsh, vulgar, or 
inelegant names should be avoided — such as " Sheepnose," 
" Hogpen," and presumably " Big Bob " and " Stump-the-world." 
In deciding on names for fruits already described, the catalogue 
of the London Horticultural Society was taken as the European 


standard, and Downing's Fruit and Fruit Trees of America, the 

The earlier exhibitions of 1848 brought splendid camellias from 
M. P. Wilder, and his zeal for experimentation in hybridizing had 
proved contagious. In June herbaceous peonies showed much 
increased variety, and the strawberries were the best ever shown. 
The President had been busy with his Japanese lilies, and had 
proved that with reasonable protection the plants were hardy. 
In June a number of invitations had been received from sister 
societies to pomological conventions, and a committee was ap- 
pointed to correspond with them and decide what action should 
be taken. The result was the Central Convention of Fruit Growers, 
which was held in New York on the tenth of October; and from 
its union with the North American Pomological Convention came 
the American Pomological Society, an association which, largely 
under the guiding hand of M. P. Wilder, was to become one of 
the recognized authorities of the world. 

The twentieth annual exhibition, which began on the ninth of 
September, was so magnificent that six tables extending the 
length of Faneuil Hall could hardly hold the fruit. The display 
had probably never before been equalled even in Europe; there 
were three hundred varieties of pears alone, and the exhibit of 
apples was unparalleled. The pot plants from the conservatories 
and greenhouses of both amateurs and nurserymen were so nu- 
merous that even here they could not be exhibited to the best 
advantage. " Old Faneuil Hall never looked more lovely — and 
we believe there was a universal acknowledgement that progress 
had been made in the horticultural art." Evergreens and plants 
filled the galleries, the panels again bore the names of eminent 
horticulturists, the pillars were wreathed, and at the head of the 
hall stood the names of the Society's benefactors, — for the din- 
ner was to be held here on Friday. The great throng of visitors 
included many prominent men from other cities, amongst them 
delegates from other societies reaching as far west as St. Louis. 
Robert Manning estimated that of fruit there were 2100 dishes 
in 577 varieties, and over 8000 specimens; of flowers, 3000 speci- 
mens in more than 400 varieties, and of vegetables 1500 speci- 
mens, in 70 varieties. These he contrasts with the first exhibition, 


in 1829, when there were only 55 parcels of fruit of not over thirty 
varieties, and not more than 120 kinds of flowers. He adds, how- 
ever, that those who were present at the exhibition of 1834 in 
Faneuil Hall regarded it as more beautiful, brilliant and generally 
effective than that of 1848 because of the preponderance of plants 
and flowers over fruits, of which in the later exhibition the hall 
could hardly contain the display. 1 At the dinner after the exhibi- 
tion the President announced that Josiah Bradlee had added five 
hundred dollars to his previous gift for premiums, and Samuel 
Appleton had followed suit, this time with two hundred dollars 
for buying library books, for one of which, a " Bible elegantly 
bound," he specified the use of about fifty dollars. 

The festival at Faneuil Hall on the evening of the twenty- 
second was almost as brilliant as that of three years before. The 
hall was a bower of evergreens, trees, shrubs, and flowers a such 
as the ancient Fauni might have adorned for an autumnal feast." 
Festooned oak and holly were carried to the very top of the hall, 
and over every capital was a bouquet, while nosegays were in- 
terspersed among the wreaths around the columns. There were 
five hundred in the company, among them R. C. Winthrop, Josiah 
Quincy, ex-Governor Seward of New York, ex-Mayor Quincy, 
General Dearborn, Judge Parker of the Harvard Law School, 
A. J. Downing, John S. Skinner, and delegates from other so- 
cieties. President Wilder spoke briefly, — and it is noteworthy 
that the text of his address was " plant a tree," one upon which 
so many lecturers spoke in later years; but at the end came a 
word which must have somewhat saddened the assembly — his 
leave-taking from the presidency of the Society. Fortunately his 
eight years of this official service — the longest of any until that 
of Mr. Burrage about three quarters of a century later — may 
be regarded as merely preliminary to the devotion to follow, — a 
devotion which never failed the Society. The other speeches were 
noticeably of a more serious tone — or perhaps sincere would be 
a better adjective, for humor was not wanting, — than those 
usually delivered on these occasions. That of General Dearborn, 
after a beautiful tribute to woman, ended with the sentiment: 
" The Women of Massachusetts — to them is this Society in- 

1 Manning, Hist, of M. H. S., p. 286. 


debted for the extension of all that is refined and honorable in 
Horticulture," — once again surely the prophetic note which so 
often sounded in his utterances. John S. Skinner spoke entertain- 
ingly as representative of the literature of agriculture; and A. J. 
Downing spoke feelingly of the great benefits of horticulture, 
appreciatively of the Massachusetts Society, and amusingly of 
the conditions in New York, — which he likened to Captain 
Cuttle's watch: " Set her for'ard half an hour every morning, 
WaFer, and a quarter every afternoon, and she'll do you credit! " 
Other speeches and songs followed, among the latter the one 
written by T. G. Fessenden for the second anniversary, " now 
ordered to be sung to the tune of ' Auld Lang Syne ' and at all 
future festivals." The meeting adjourned "for three years" — 
but alas, the gay assembly never met again, and it was to be many 
times three years before even an attempt at a festival was made. 
"The three triennial festivals, in 1842, '45 and '48, were never 
surpassed by any festivals of their kind held in Boston," is the 
testimony in 1875. 

On the thirtieth of September, 1848, Benjamin V. French, one 
of the vice-presidents, was nominated for president, but declined; 
and a week later Samuel Walker was elected. A significant echo of 
the glories of the last exhibition is heard in a vote of thanks in 
December to the Committee on Flowers and Vegetables " for their 
not having exceeded the appropriation." 

President Wilder took his leave as president on the sixth of 
January, 1849, with the heartfelt assurance to the meeting that 
he should feel for his official associates an affection next to that 
for his family and home. He referred gratefully to the friendship 
and unanimity that had prevailed in the councils of the Society; 
but it is plain that this harmony was very largely due to his own 
unselfishness and tact, and was one of the greatest blessings he 
had brought upon the Society. B. V. French, at the same meeting, 
proposed a vote of thanks to him; and the Society at once voted 
also substantial tokens of their regard and esteem to M. P. Wilder, 
to H. A. S. Dearborn, and to J. E. Teschemacher. These took the 
form of a silver pitcher to Mr. Wilder; the Society's gold medal to 
General Dearborn; and a piece of plate to Mr. Teschemacher. 

Samuel Walker, the new President, was, as we have been able 


to see, a worthy and faithful man of intense enthusiasms and 
sensibility. After Mr. Wilder had introduced him, he replied in a 
short address of appreciation and thanks; and at once announced 
a plan, or rather the germ of a plan, which developed into one of 
the most useful of the Society's customs, the president's annual 
address: "I shall take an opportunity to submit, for your con- 
sideration and action, an outline of such measures as shall seem to 
me calculated to promote the further consolidation and usefulness 
of the Society." As the years went by, the annual address became 
indispensable as a benevolent criticism or editorial on the activi- 
ties viewed as a whole, and effectually prevented undue emphasis 
or neglect of any of them; while new opportunities could be seen 
from the president's chair which were invisible from any other. 
Moreover, the responsibility thus thrown on the president brought 
it about that the office has never been permitted to become an 
ornamental one, but has called out the best ability and devotion 
at the Society's command. 

Financial matters were in good condition in 1849; about five 
thousand dollars had come from Mount Auburn, the rent of the 
store and the hall had yielded about two thousand more, and in 
May the mortgage of $15,000 was paid, and another of $10,000 
executed to Josiah Bradlee. 

President Walker, a great lover of roses, had suggested a semi- 
annual show of roses and other flowers in June — the first of the 
" special shows " ever held. The roses were magnificent, some 
of the specimens being the best ever shown, and the grapes also 
were remarkable; but the hot weather had affected many plants, 
and the three days of the exhibition were not financially encourag- 
ing. The annual exhibition, from September the eighteenth through 
the twentieth, suffered badly in the fruit department because of 
the severity of the previous winter and the drought of the summer, 
though the Middlesex County growers, whose trees had been least 
affected, brought splendid specimens, especially of pears. The 
dahlias had scarcely begun to bloom, and little ornamental deco- 
ration was attempted; but the fine specimens of plants, and a 
timely revival of interest in the vegetable class, brought the ex- 
hibition through creditably. The dahlias were ready at their special 
show ten days later, which surpassed any " ever seen in the Hall " 



— a descriptive phrase which we meet continually throughout 
our hundred years, and which must be taken as no more than a 
superlative of approval. The meetings of the Society during the 
rest of the year were occupied largely with possible rules and 
regulations, such as David Haggerston's suggestion that none but 
members might compete for premiums; that gratuities should 
not in general be awarded except for objects offered in competi- 
tion — which was voted; and that prize-winners might receive 
at their option either money or equivalent plate, which was also 
voted. President Walker, like M. P. Wilder in the instance of the 
camellia, generously announced his intention of not competing 
for premiums and of not accepting gratuities. The premium list 
for 1850 represented a total of one thousand, nine hundred dollars, 
of which prospective prizes and flower prizes were six hundred 
and fifty each, four hundred and fifty for fruit, and one hundred 
and fifty for vegetables. 

Death had already, of course, begun to claim some of the most 
experienced and therefore valuable members of the Society, and 
it could not much longer be hoped that a year might pass without 
some seemingly irreparable loss. In August votes were passed on 
the death of Theodore Lyman, as honorary member, and munifi- 
cent donor, in which he was described as one of the most ardent 
and enthusiastic friends of the Society. " Deeply interested in all 
that pertains to the cultivation of the earth, and endowed with a 
true taste for landscape beauty, his example, as evinced in the 
arrangement of his own elegant grounds, had a high influence in 
disseminating a love for horticultural pursuits." By Mr. Lyman's 
will the Society received the sum of ten thousand dollars, and in 
1852 a marble bust of the benefactor was obtained. 

Theodore Lyman's death drew President Walker's attention 
in his promised address on the fifth of January, 1850, to the 
general subject of landscape gardening; and with characteristic 
enthusiasm Mr. Walker suggested that a professorship of land- 
scape gardening should be established. He then spoke of the recent 
ravages of insects, and recommended the subject to the Professor 
of Entomology, who might be solicited to lecture upon his re- 
searches. The professors of botany and horticultural chemistry 
were likewise suggested as desirable lecturers on their subjects. 


He then recommended that premiums should be offered under the 
direction of a committee provided for the purpose, to visit and 
examine establishments, and pass upon their condition, produc- 
tiveness, and management, — of course by previous invitation of 
their proprietors, but without notice given by the visitors. The 
next suggestion was, that since the hall was not large enough for 
the annual exhibition, this should in September be given " under 
a tent or tents of ample dimensions, in some suitable place as 
near the center of the city as possible." Pursuing this line of 
thought, he continued: "A larger hall will soon be necessary. 
Permit me, therefore, to suggest that our present resources should 
be husbanded with as much economy as a liberal and progressive 
management of the affairs of the Society will permit, to enable it, 
at no distant day, to erect a Temple which shall be an ornament 
to the city, and in every way adapted to the wants of the Society 
and the public." The subject of an experimental garden was also 

Here certainly was an extremely ambitious program, but one 
which nevertheless distinctly suggests several very important ac- 
tivities entered into later by the Society. The whole address was 
referred to a special committee, who carried it off until the ninth 
of March, and then returned with a long report. The suggestions, 
they said, were entitled to favorable consideration, not only as 
coming from a high official station, but as the conclusions of a 
sound judgment, active zeal, cultivated taste and liberal spirit. 
They heartily concurred in the matter of premiums for gardens, 
and suggested them also for the cultivation of grapes or plants 
under glass; the taking of a premium was not always a criterion 
of merit, for exclusive attention to one production often took the 
prize — and justly, according to present rules — from one whose 
garden might be a pattern of scientific cultivation, neatness and 
economy in management. But as to a course of lectures, they 
thought that the members were too widely scattered over the 
state to justify the cost; and they likewise could not approve of 
a professorship of landscape gardening, which besides being be- 
yond the means of the Society as far as any effectual encourage- 
ment of the art was concerned, would result in no practical benefit. 
There was still room for work in the field of fruits: so many new 


and practically perfect fruits had been raised from the seed that 
others, such as the blackberry, gooseberry and currant, which 
seemed still comparatively neglected, might properly be encour- 
aged. As to the exhibition under a tent, the Committee were not 
unanimous. Would the cost be covered by increased attendance? 
Late exhibitions had fallen off in attendance, and the novelty 
might attract; but what if the weather should be bad; and was 
it prudent to hold the exhibition out-of-doors " when autumnal 
diseases are incident? " The Committee had found that the cost 
of any of the larger halls in the city would be too great, and the 
cost of renting a tent 250 by 150 feet, which was now being made 
for John Wright, would be about $125. The Messrs. Hovey had 
charge of the Public Garden, — the only location adapted — which 
they had been letting for one fourth of the net receipts of exhibi- 
tions. On the whole it would be best to wait; a decision would not 
be necessary for several months. Reverting to the matter of de- 
creased attendance at the Saturday shows, the Committee sug- 
gested that the recently imposed admission fee should be removed, 
or the shows made more attractive by having them less fre- 
quently; and recommended the former measure, — wisely, ac- 
cording to the report a year later. The admission fees for 1849 
had been only a hundred and thirty dollars, and the door receipts 
at the two large exhibitions about one hundred and ten and two 
hundred and ten respectively. It was thereupon ordered that pre- 
miums of twenty-five and fifteen dollars be offered for the best 
cultivated, kept, and economically managed garden or grounds, 
and the same for fruit gardens, flower gardens, vegetable gardens, 
greenhouses and graperies; and for the best seedling blackberry, 
currant and gooseberry to be originated after January the first, 
1850, and deemed superior after three years to any of the same 
species now extant, forty, twenty-five and twenty-five dollars 

April, in 1850, was cold and wet, and the summer cooler and 
with more rain than usual. Fruits consequently suffered, but in 
strawberries and cherries some possibly good acquisitions ap- 
peared, though beginners were advised to stick to the established 
kinds still. For some years the pear had been usurping general 
attention to the neglect of the apple, which from an economic 


point of view was the more valuable fruit. The excellent varieties 
of the apple were mostly of accidental origin; and it was evident 
that scientific principles should be applied to the production of a 
much desired late-keeping sweet apple, and of others that would 
hold their flavor until the fruits of the next year appeared. J. F. 
Allen's grapes continued to be a striking feature; Hovey's rhodo- 
dendrons and thirty-six varieties of hardy azaleas, shown on the 
fifteenth of June, represented the best effort with these yet made; 
and early in September, S. H. Perkins showed thirty specimens of 
splendid nectarines of eight inches girth. The annual exhibition 
occupied the whole of the building, — hall, library and Bowditch's 
store, — the hall being assigned to the pears and grapes ; and in 
fruits it was better than ever before. The publication of the list 
of names of fruits was omitted because of the " enormous expense 
thereof " and only a few of the new fruits were recorded. B. V. 
French seems to have been an exception to the rule of indifference 
towards the apple, and was awarded a gold medal for his one 
hundred and forty-one varieties. The labors of the Fruit Com- 
mittee consisted largely in testing and comparing new varieties, 
and for this they were highly commended. 

The first report of the " Committee on Gardens " was of course 
peculiarly interesting. They " found courtesy and kindness every- 
where," but the duties were new, and there were no rules to be 
governed by. The first task, therefore, was to evolve a set, which 
we may summarize as follows : no fruit garden or grounds of less 
than an acre may compete; no farm, simply as a farm, will be 
visited; the most deserving of the applications will be selected 
as necessary; no place will be officially visited without a written 
invitation; all visits must be conducted without previous notice; 
none may compete for the highest prize more than two years out 
of seven; the Committee may give gratuities at their discretion; 
and competitors must, if required, furnish a written statement of 
their mode of cultivation, quantity and kind of manure applied, 
amount of labor, and other particulars called for, under the penalty 
of a forfeiture of the prize if withheld. For the past season, Otis 
Johnson won a first prize for his fruit garden, and the Hoveys 
for their gardens and grounds. Seven received gratuities, amongst 
whom was J. F. Allen for his extensive graperies. 


The premium list for 1851 provided the sum of $2300, in pro- 
portions about as before, and with $200 for gardens and grounds. 
President Walker in his address on the fourth of January char- 
acterized the work of the committees as united in purpose and 
action, and proceeded as before to outline the campaign for the 
future. The problem, he thought, was not what could be done, but 
what should be done first in accordance with the " vista seen 
ahead through the eye of hope " by the Lowells, Storeys, and 
Lymans of the past. As to landscape gardening and the experi- 
mental garden, he referred his hearers to what he had said last 
year. He thought that the first consideration was a permanent 
" temple," a suitable home; and entering into details, he asked 
" whether a hall, in every way suited for horticulture, might not 
be built and fitted up with reference to its soul-stirring kindred 
spirit, Music, where the warbling voice and the ' Bird Song ' 
might be wafted, like the gentle zephyr, among the trees, the buds, 
the blossoms and the flowers, to ravish the ear, while the eye 
should be charmed by the gems of lovely spring, or the golden 
drops and the purple hues of gorgeous Autumn." 

President Walker was ten years later described as one of the 
bright lights of the Society, a president of great ability, and 
thoroughly beloved by all his associates ; but in view of their last 
report we must not be surprised that the committee to whom the 
address was referred showed unmistakable signs of irritation, not 
unmixed with mirth. If the Society seriously contemplates for the 
future such an important work as an experimental garden, let us 
discuss it then, they said : we think it would be better to encourage 
individual effort than to have the Society do what could as well 
or better be done thus. As to the erection of a " new Hall or 
Temple," they considered the one they had ample for the present, 
though they recommended husbanding the funds in order to build 
in the future, if expedient, a larger building where " in the words 
of the President, the soul-stirring kindred spirit Music and the 
warbling voice and the ' Bird Song ' might be wafted, etc." The 
result of this obvious irreverence was that in October Mr. Walker 
" peremptorily refused to be a candidate for re-election "; but it 
caused in his lovable nature no diminution of loyalty; and we 
must not fail to perceive that some of the ideas which the Com- 


mittee may have believed fantastic because the language was, 
afterwards proved themselves to be very practical indeed, — 
including that of an annual address. 

The receipts of the Society in 1850 had been $17,245.03, in- 
clusive of the ten thousand dollar bequest of Theodore Lyman; 
the outstanding claims on it, including the mortgage, amounted 
to $12,450; and the estimate of its property was $53,718.87. One 
hundred and fifty dollars was appropriated for the Library, and 
G. W. Smith presented the same amount for the purchase of 
books, coming forward at need, as other members had done in the 
case of the medals. The educational value of artificial fruits was 
discussed during March, and it was suggested that a cabinet of 
them be formed; but more interesting was the discussion in May 
of Daniel T. Curtis's methods of preserving and packing fruits, 
by which they had been sent with the best results to Havana, San 
Francisco and London. Curtis had received the Knightian Medal 
from the London Society; and the impulse was to honor him 
here; but the Committee prudently decided to await the results 
of further experiments then in progress. 

On the twenty-ninth of July, 1851, occurred in Portland the 
death of General Dearborn, the Society's first president. Brief 
resolutions were passed on the twenty-third of August, in which 
were emphasized his untiring zeal in promoting the best interests 
of the Society, and his classic taste in all that adorns and refines 
social life. Born in 1783, the son of a Revolutionary patriot, 
Henry D. Dearborn, he was graduated from William and Mary 
College in 1803, practiced law with Judge Story in Salem, and 
became Collector of the Port of Boston. Removed by President 
Jackson in 1829, he served the State in the lower house and the 
senate in 1829 and 1830. In 18 12 he commanded the defences 
of Boston Harbor. He was representative from Massachusetts 
in the twenty-second Congress, and in 1834 became Adjutant 
General of the State; but in 1842 he loaned the State arms to 
Rhode Island to assist in suppressing Dorr's rebellion, and for 
this breach of the law he was removed from office. He was Mayor 
of Roxbury from 1847 to 1851. The extent of his interests is 
further apparent in his writings, in which are included a sketch 
of the Apostle Eliot, a Life of Christ, an epitome of entomology, 


and three volumes on the Commerce of the Black Sea. 2 In the 
spring of 1852 the sum of one hundred dollars was appropriated 
by the Society as a contribution to a monument in his memory. 
The smaller exhibitions of 1851 presented from the garden of 
M. P. Wilder the Weigela rosea, and Isaac Fay's seedling straw- 
berry, Jenny Lind, first exhibited on the twenty-first of June; 
large displays of foreign grapes; Champion of England peas, by 
Azell Bowditch; and the new Beurre Giffard pear, from J. S. 
Cabot. The entire building had to be used again for the annual 
exhibition on the seventeenth through the nineteenth of Septem- 
ber. We hear little about the flowers, because of an unfavorable 
season; but the interest in fruits, particularly pears, was increas- 
ing almost feverishly, and the Committee looked forward to their 
cultivation not only for domestic consumption, but for the supply 
of the market and even for foreign export. To this end the su- 
periority of certain fruits raised hereabouts was pointed out, and 
with it the necessity of obtaining from successful cultivators in- 
formation as to methods, manures, and soil best adapted. The 
testing of fruits went forward constantly, and careful estimates 
were given of those submitted. The benefits derived were none 
the less real because often negative in character. J. P. Cushing's 
thirty-two varieties of strawberries were tested during the year, 
though with somewhat disappointing results; but at the annual 
exhibition his early Crawford peaches, a foot in girth, had never 
been surpassed. Cherries were receiving the intelligent interest 
of M. P. Wilder and the Hoveys, and grapes that of J. F. Allen, 
the Brecks, the Hoveys, and W. C. Strong. The season was prolific 
in excellent plums, though of few new varieties. Baldwin, Roxbury 
Russet and other apples were exhibited as late as the fourteenth 
of June. The Williams Favorite was commended, but the Northern 
Spy was again adjudged unsuitable for cultivation in this vicinity. 
In December the silver medal was awarded to Andre Leroy, of 
Angers, France, for a fine collection of fruit sent to the Society, 
— amongst which was the Doyenne du Cornice pear, — and a 
piece of plate to Captain Josiah Lovett for producing the Christi- 
ana melon. In April, 1852, J. M. Ives was similarly rewarded for 
the introduction of the marrow squash in 1834. The garden premi- 

2 Twentieth Century Biog. Diet. 


urns seemed to excite little interest in 1851, the number of entries 
in all classes having been but five, with no competition whatever 
for greenhouses or graperies; but this was probably because the 
premiums had not yet been widely made known. 

Joseph S. Cabot had been elected president on the fourth of 
October, and on January the third, 1852, in his opening address, 
he paid sincere tribute to the qualifications of Samuel Walker 
and spoke with great modesty of his own. While dwelling on the 
discoveries and improvements during the Society's existence in 
the arts which relate to the comforts and enjoyment of life, and 
observing that horticulture also was involved and would require 
all the energies of the members, he made no specific comment on 
the subjects broached by Samuel Walker, but definitely recom- 
mended systematic economy until the debt should be discharged, 
and indeed until a fund could be started whose income would 
take the place of the uncertain income now derived from Mount 
Auburn. This had been a little over three thousand dollars for 
the past year, and with the comfortable incomes from investments 
and rents, finances had been prosperous enough to permit all 
reasonable expenditures. The year 1852 started with a roster of 
137 life, 363 annual and seventy-six honorary members. There 
were still only about 300 volumes in the library, but the room 
had been made as serviceable as its not very attractive situation 
in the back of the building permitted. The sum appropriated for 
premiums was slightly larger than for 185 1, and distributed in 
the same proportions. 

There were several new fruits shown for the first time during 
the year: on June the twenty-sixth Coe's Transparent cherry, by 
Azell Bowditch, the Sheldon pear by the Hoveys, and on the 
thirteenth of November Dana's Hovey seedling pear. The season 
had been inclement, and cherries had suffered; but a passing 
interest had arisen in gooseberries, and some good ones were 
shown by J. S. Amory and J. W. Foster. Blackberries also proved 
good, — the exhortation as to " small fruit " had evidently found 
some response — and Galen Merriam reported that he could sell 
them for a dollar a box, — four times the price of raspberries. 
The pear exhibits were superlatively good, as usual, and the 
Beurre Clairgleau was being watched with intense interest. Apples 







showed few new varieties, and strawberries and raspberries were 
somewhat of a failure. The annual exhibition, according to Samuel 
Walker's suggestion, was held under a great tent in the Public 
Garden. The tent, which was entered by an arch wreathed with 
evergreen, extended 200 by 100 feet, and contained six rows of 
tables; the two outside rows, running parallel with the sides, de- 
voted to flowers and vegetables, and the other four, forming 
semicircles on each side of the centre, assigned to fruit. The sides 
of the tent were lined with evergreen trees, and the central poles 
were wreathed with evergreens and flowers. In the very centre stood 
a stage covered with beautiful plants, and circular stands of cut 
flowers at each end. The display of fruit was by far the most 
magnificent the Society had ever presented. There was never 
before an exhibition in Boston visited by so many distinguished 
horticulturists and delegations from societies far and near; and 
we may credit their testimony that no exhibition in any part of 
the world had ever equalled it. There were prizes both for select 
varieties and for collections of pears and apples. The pears 
doubled the apples in quantity; the total number of dishes was 
over three thousand four hundred, many containing more than 
a peck, and the specimens were superb, especially those of Beurre 
Diel, Duchesse, Beurre d'Anjou, Marie Louise, Louise Bonne of 
Jersey, Doyenne Boussock, and Swan's Orange. The principal ex- 
hibitors were the Hoveys, B. V. French, M. P. Wilder, S. Walker, 
R. Manning, and J. Stickney. The plant exhibits, though beauti- 
ful, were this year eclipsed by the vegetables, of which there was 
the best display yet recorded; and it is interesting to note that 
Daniel Webster won the first prize for the best display and 
greatest variety, and the second for mammoth squashes. 

The Committee on Gardens found increasing interest in their 
field, in 1852, but brought up for solution a hard question: should 
prizes be awarded to the gardeners of the competitors, or to the 
owners themselves? They made no attempt to solve it, but merely 
stated that the rule, whatever it was, should be uniform for all 
committees, and that they themselves had made awards to the 
owners. The estate of Frederic Tudor at Nahant, visited at the 
end of July, received commendation for its architectural taste, 
beauty of situation and views, well-arranged grounds, and " ap- 


plications of the most approved discoveries of mechanical in- 
genuity." Its successful development in the face of such 
disadvantages as high winds from the Bay and a hard, sterile 
soil, by the use of artificial sheltering lattices and suitable fer- 
tilizers won for it the first prize for gardens; and Jonathan French 
won the first prize for greenhouses. 

In 1852 the State Board of Agriculture had been established, 
and we shall find as the years pass evidence of its importance in 
matters of interest to the Society. President Cabot's address on 
New Year's Day of 1853 concerned the progress of horticulture 
and the Society's means for future usefulness, and contained the 
suggestion of occasional meetings for the discussion of subjects 
of interest to the members. This idea was doubtless suggested 
by Samuel Walker's, of which we have spoken; but it was better 
adapted to practical needs at the time, and may be considered the 
starting-point of those instructive lectures and interesting dis- 
cussions which later drew the members together for so many 
years, and through publication in the Transactions extended the 
results of their researches and experience even across the ocean. 
On Saturday, two weeks later, Vice-President Richards having 
been called to the chair, President Cabot himself opened what 
was called a " conversational meeting " on the absorbing topic of 
the cultivation of the pear. Very briefly he explained his own 
ideas of location, soil, manuring, and pruning. Mr. Breck then 
endorsed the President's practice, added details from his own 
experience, and entered into a discussion with Mr. C. M. Hovey, 
which Mr. French and Mr. Stickney soon joined. Two weeks 
later Mr. Walker and Mr. Strong were attracted into the " con- 
versation," questions were asked and answered, and thus by a 
meeting every other week, five in all, the " discussions " came 
into existence, though they were not yet regularly established. 
In this, the first instance, the subject was ready at hand — 
everybody was enthusiastic about pear cultivation; later the sub- 
jects suggested themselves readily, and a lecturer with special 
knowledge furnished the groundwork for debate and inquiry 
among his listeners. 

But the year 1853 was distinguished in other ways. The Fruit 
Committee questioned whether " like results (with the pears) 


could be shown in any exhibition in the country/' and adds " we 
are aware of the purport of language, and still do not hesitate to 
consider the remark as stable." The good Committee is in some 
trepidation lest the large proportion of prize-winners among its 
own members should suggest favoritism, and is at some pains to 
explain that they cannot justly be excluded from competition, and 
that being specialists they would naturally excel in greater pro- 
portion than others. But unless their fruits and specimens were 
of decided and marked superiority, they declared, the preference 
was given to a competitor outside of the Committee, — and the 
awards had been unanimous. M. P. Wilder had been corresponding 
extensively and importing European varieties of pears which he 
tested carefully; J. F. Allen had become the unquestioned 
authority on grape cultivation, which was receiving more and 
more attention. It was J. F. Allen, too, who presented at different 
exhibitions during the summer the leaf and flower of the marvel- 
lous Royal Water-Lily, Victoria Regia, the first blossom of which 
expanded on the twenty-first of July in Allen's Salem garden, — 
though this was not the first time it had been grown in this 
country. The flower measured thirteen inches, and some leaves 
were over five feet and a half in diameter; and the astonishment 
and admiration of the visitors can well be imagined. But the most 
significant fruit exhibit of the year was one so unobtrusive that it 
was lost among the vegetable exhibits on the third of September. 
Ephraim Wales Bull, a gold beater who lived in Concord on the 
Lexington Road, had spoken to several members of the Society 
about a seedling which he believed was a good table and wine 
grape, and was also early, hardy and prolific; but when the ex- 
hibition day came, Bull was ill, and asked a neighbor to take it to 
the Hall for him. At about noon two members of the Fruit Com- 
mittee appeared at Bull's house in Concord and asked why the 
grapes had not been sent. Bull said they had been. The Com- 
mittee were puzzled, returned by the next train to Boston, and 
went directly to the exhibition, where they finally found the grapes 
in an inconspicuous place among the vegetables. Thus appeared 
the famous Concord grape, the new seedling which was to create 
a sensation in the whole horticultural world, and was described 
as two weeks earlier than the Diana — by far the earliest here- 


tofore; and delicious in flavor — not musky like the Isabella, 
but with the rich aroma of the Catawba. The report of the Fruit 
Committee was somewhat conservative, for there had been a 
" perfect mania " for raising grapes. Bull answered all inquiries 
freely and frankly; but some of the clusters weighed a pound — 
a thing unheard of — and two members of the Committee went 
out to Concord to see whether the vines were girdled. Bull was 
not at home, but the visitors obtained permission to examine the 
vines, and not only satisfied themselves that they were not girdled, 
but found bunches larger than those exhibited. Bull had begun 
with a native vine, Vitis Labrusca, growing in one corner of his 
farm. The first season's sales amounted to thirty-two hundred 
dollars, a large sum then for a new fruit; but Bull was a true 
genius and an altruist, not a business man, and soon the sale 
slipped out of his hands. Cheated out of the rewards of his work, 
in spite of the best efforts of the Hovey Company, he became 
embittered and finally almost unapproachable; but it is pleasant 
to record that the Society's Fruit Committee, at first cautious, be- 
came favorable in 1855, more positive in 1856, and unqualified in 
appreciation in 1858. In 1873 the Society awarded Bull the gold 
medal for the Concord grape; and Judge E. Rockwood Hoar, his 
lifelong friend, remarked that in any other country such a public 
benefactor would have received government recognition. He lived 
to see the grape " spread over the country leaving wealth and 
prosperity in its path, carrying the name ' Concord ' where the 
names of her authors and battle ground had never been heard, 
and an industry never before dreamed of." On his gravestone 
stands the pathetic epitaph, " He sowed; others reaped." 3 

The annual exhibition — the twenty-fifth — came on the 
twentieth through the twenty-third of September. The same tent 
or " pavilion " was erected on the Common, nearly opposite West 
Street, but with a board floor, which the City insisted on to pro- 
tect the grass. Pennants flew from the top, and a band had been 
engaged. Inside, the supporting poles were wreathed with ever- 
green, and the roof overhead decorated with banners. Stands of 
cut flowers stood on either side of the entrance. One table covered 

3 Transactions, Jan. n, 190S. A detailed and extremely interesting account of 
the Concord grape, and a gratifying appreciation of its originator. 


with plants ran through the centre, and in the very middle was 
a platform, screened by the plants, for the band. Tables on the 
sides of this contained the fruits, and at the western end were the 
vegetables. At night the tent was lighted by effectively placed 
gas-jets. On the first day a heavy rain penetrated the canvas and 
drenched everything. Both quantity and quality of the fruits sur- 
passed even those of the previous year, especially, of course, the 
pears — and we note that the Beurre Superfin pear, by M. P. 
Wilder, appeared for the first time. The apples were disappoint- 
ing, however, even B. V. French failing to present his usual 
worthy exhibit; and the plums also were a failure. The Hoveys 
were awarded the Appleton gold medal for their seedling cherry, 
Hovey, which had stood the test of five years, and now took the 
first prospective prize. Vegetables were few, but excellent in 
quality. The attendance was over 8000, and the net proceeds four 
hundred dollars; the Committees congratulated themselves on 
many new competitors, who carried off prizes from the older ones. 
The dahlia show took place on the first three days of the exhibition. 

The Garden Committee visited several typical places during 
the year, and commented on the skill of B. V. French at his 
garden in Braintree, where he was experimenting with straw- 
berries, and upon M. H. Simpson's fine grapehouse on a hillside 
in Saxonville. Again the Society had to record the death of one of 
its most valuable members, J. E. Teschemacher, which took place 
on the train coming from Medford to Boston on the eighth of 
November. It will be remembered that he first directed serious 
attention to guano as a fertilizer, convinced of its possibilities 
doubtless through his interest in the applications of chemistry. 
He was an ardent botanist, mineralogist and geologist, and his 
loss was widely felt. 

The extreme drought of 1854 made the season a dull one in the 
Society's activities. It was ruinous to the weekly exhibitions of 
flowers, and even the annual exhibition was for a while almost 
despaired of. The latter, however, was held on the twelfth and the 
four following days of September on Boston Common under the 
tent; and though neither so extensive nor interesting as that of 
1853, surpassed it in some important particulars. An opportunity 
to compare New England products with those of other sections 


was offered by exhibits from the American Pomological Society, 
which was holding its meeting in Boston, and had been assigned 
space in the tent. The drought had evidently been very wide- 
spread, and New England was far from suffering by the com- 
parison. Cut flowers were meagre, and pears, the usual leaders, 
were inferior; but rain came in September and early October, 
and the apples were excellent. Interest was awakened in A. W. 
Stetson's method of packing them, each in paper, and then in 
barrels with cork dust, by which they were preserved six or eight 
weeks longer than heretofore. Blackberries, whose cultivation the 
Committee had been urging, were receiving more general atten- 
tion; but grapes were attracting the greatest interest, and the 
season had been peculiarly favorable for ripening them. Ignatius 
Sargent showed bunches of Black Hamburgs of which the largest 
weighed seven and a half pounds, and for them he received as 
a special premium the silver medal. From M. H. Simpson came a 
display from vines which had already produced a crop the pre- 
ceding March, — the first instance, the Committee believed, of 
two crops in one year. Upon request, Mr. Simpson — who was 
a blanket-manufacturer — explained his method, which was to 
blanket the borders and keep the heat in. He had taken dry 
meadow hay a foot thick and placed upon it six inches of waste 
and manure to absorb the rain until the frost should make it a 
better protection. Allen's Hybrid grape, shown on the ninth of 
September, represented the first cross between foreign and native 
species; superb Concords were in evidence, and were depicted 
in Hovey's Magazine; and on October the fourteenth Joseph 
Breck first exhibited the Wyman grape, for which he received 
the silver medal. Flowers, as has been said, were few; but we 
may note the Cattleya Mossiae shown early in the year by J. F. 
Allen, and especially " one hundred varieties of native plants, and 
fourteen of fungi, all scientifically labelled," from Dennis Mur- 
ray. The interest in native flowers called forth by Thomas Lee's 
prizes in 1839 had not continued; but now Murray revived it and 
sustained it until his death in 1864. Vegetables, though affected 
by the drought, were abundant and excellent at the annual show, 
and Davis's seedling potato won the gold medal after a five-year 
test. A prospective prize, the gold medal, was won also by the 


Hoveys for their seedling C. M. Hovey, from their splendid 
camellia conservatory, one of the late features of the establish- 
ment which the Garden Committee had visited two years before. 
This Committee reported this year that the places visited had 
appeared at a disadvantage because of the drought; but they were 
the more pleased with the graperies of Nahum Stetson, at Bridge- 
water, who had plentiful water on his land, and a hydraulic ram 
to carry it everywhere. 

The year 1855 was by no means a lean one either in quality or 
quantity, except for the Library. No appropriation having been 
made for it, the only possible progress was the continuance of the 
serial publications; but the whole matter of library accommoda- 
tion had for some time been under consideration, and land had 
been bought some time before in case general extension seemed 
advisable. The room, looking out on the back court, was too damp 
even for the books, and during cold weather the librarian was 
obliged to keep up a hot fire. Dissatisfaction with the Library's 
quarters could not be met so readily as that with straitened 
space for the annual exhibition. The latter was held indoors again, 
in 1855; the last one on the Common had not paid for itself, and 
experience had shown that when bad weather came, canvas was 
little protection. 

Roses, phloxes, dahlias, and especially asters were once more 
abundant and supremely beautiful, fifty-six cultivators exhibiting 
during the year. The fruits also were plentiful and fine; pears 
were reported as ranging from fifty cents to a dollar and a half, 
or even two dollars, a dozen — a price equal to that of a barrel of 
apples. But the grape was fast claiming the widest interest: 
J. F. Allen and A. W. Stetson were working persistently and with 
promising prospects to give the public an open-cultured vine which 
would yield superior grapes ripening early enough to insure a crop 
in New England; and M. H. Simpson reported that he had pro- 
duced his third crop in succession on the plan of two crops a year, 
and that so far the vines had shown no injury. The Delaware 
grape, known for several years in the West, was this year brought 
for the first time to the attention of the Society by A. Thompson, 
of Delaware, Ohio. The Concord, as we know, was slowly and 
surely making its way. Vegetables also indicated a growing 


interest. A. R. Pope, of Somerville, showed thirty-two varieties 
of squashes at the annual show. The great exhibition, from 
September the eighteenth through the twentieth, was held in 
Music Hall, one of the largest in the city. An arch stood over the 
Winter Street entrance, decorated with evergreens, flags and 
streamers. Five tables, seventy feet long, extended the length of 
the hall, and were laden with the fruits; one on either side held 
the cut flowers; the great stage held the floral designs and plants; 
and under the gallery at the opposite end were two long tables 
filled with the vegetables. Slight wreathing over the front of the 
galleries was the only decoration, unless the floral designs may be 
called such. The latter consisted of a floral temple, a Chinese 
pagoda worked with flowers and moss, and a Bunker Hill Monu- 
ment of crimson and white amaranthuses, blocked out to represent 
stone. The asters and dahlias were once more, after a lapse of 
four years, the finest of the flowers. Pears and apples were excel- 
lent in variety and specimens, the Hoveys leading in the former 
with three hundred varieties, though M. P. Wilder won the Ly- 
man plate with the best thirty varieties of twelve specimens each. 
The vegetable exhibits also were the best ever presented, especially 
A. R. Pope's squashes, of which we have spoken. The Garden 
Committee apparently visited few places during the year, but 
reported enthusiastically on Joseph Breck's establishment in 
Brighton, which contained fruits, roses and the most extensive 
collection of phloxes in the country; and on the splendid peach 
house of Dr. Nathan Durfee, in Fall River. 

No better augury for the steady progress of horticulture could 
be desired than the critical attitude shown in the reports for 1856 
by the several committees towards their own specialties, com- 
bined with a certain rivalry with one another. A contrast of the 
displays of roses, phloxes, asters, dahlias, and especially Japanese 
lilies with those of but five years before showed what a great ad- 
vance had been made; but candor required the Flower Committee 
to confess that this should be attributed largely to the skill of 
foreign cultivators. It was right to take advantage of everything 
at hand; yet if the Society would encourage the production of 
new seedling flowers, as it did seedling fruits, the results would 
be as gratifying. The Committee on Fruits observed that their 


department was not the least of those intended for the public 
good, and indulged in a pardonable flapping of wings; their results 
went to Kansas, California, Oregon; the Bartlett pear grew better 
here than in its birthplace; Kansas apples were mostly of varieties 
originated here, and equalled ours; and as to pears, were not the 
Sheldon, Lawrence, Brandywine, Boston, Seckel, Tyson, Andrews, 
Lodge, Kinsessing, Howell, Oswego Beurre and Adams of home 
origin? By the " Simpsonian " method two crops of grapes in a 
year could be cultivated; J. F. Allen was succeeding in his fight 
against mildew, the great foe of grape culture in this country; 
we now had open cultured grapes nearly equal to those grown 
under glass; and the Concord was proving a valuable addition. 
The Committee on Vegetables reported increased interest, but 
called attention to the fact that the " love of fruits and flowers 
exercised over the mind or senses of the amateur a more varied 
and delightful influence than the department of vegetables; yet 
who was there to deny that a collection of finely grown vegetables 
placed on the tables did not excite as much interest to the visitors 
as a collection of fine fruits arrayed in all their richness, or a stand 
of flowers appearing to the eye as though the wings of a butterfly 
had been daguerreotyped on every petal? " Even the Committee's 
eye seems to have been caught for a moment! " The tables at the 
annual display should groan under the weight of such esculents as 
constitute the staff of life! " The vegetable prizes were liberal, 
and the Society could not be blamed: it was these amateurs, who 
were too easily misled by appearances! Is it possible that the 
agricultural shows and fairs were at this time a more convenient 
place for the exhibition of vegetables? 

In the shows of 1856 fuchsias, especially the forty varieties 
exhibited by W. C. Strong; E. S. Rand, Jr.'s Clematis lanuginosa, 
never shown here before;' splendid roses; a magnificent display of 
peonies on the twenty-first of June; and nectarines in early July, 
from H. Hollis Hunnewell, were the principal items of interest. 
The annual exhibition was again held in Music Hall, which was 
this year beautiful from festooned ceiling to wreathed columns — 
an innovation afterwards repented of because it represented a 
quarter of the total cost. The Committee recommended that in 
future all decoration except that made possible by plants and 


flowers should be dispensed with: the great expense of this ex- 
hibition was deemed necessary in order to attract the thousands 
of strangers expected to throng the city for the dedication of 
the Franklin statue. The exhibition, though creditable in itself, 
was not so good as some of its predecessors; and the sum of $2408 
from the sale of tickets practically balanced the expenses. 

The Garden Committee's work in 1856 suddenly becomes 
interesting. M. H. Simpson's grapehouse at Saxonville was a 
centre of great curiosity, and the Committee saw for themselves 
that three or four months' rest was enough for his vines. Of the 
quality of the various grapes they spoke from experience, " hav- 
ing luxuriated on the product at a well-spread table, with the 
vines for a canopy, during the interim of a train of cars." On the 
thirtieth of May, President Cabot received them in " his usual 
free and social manner " at the depot in Salem, whence he con- 
ducted them to his " family mansion, a goodly structure of olden 
times, with its gable roof and spacious hall, wearing an air of 
comfort and cheerful hospitality." There also they partook of 
bounty and abundance. The garden, of about two acres, was 
devoted to flowers, especially tulips; and the Committee regretted 
the absence of their chairman, Samuel Walker, who loved tulips 
especially. From here they went to J. F. Allen's graperies and 
lily house, which they found perfect in neatness and elegance as 
in their products. The first invitation from a lady was from Mrs. 
F. B. Durfee, of Fall River. They highly commended her gardener 
of nine years' standing, Mr. Young, and could only say of their 
hostess's hospitality that " this visit will be amongst our most 
pleasing reminiscences." Having a little time to spare, they made 
a friendly call on Dr. Durfee; but he was not at home. His peach 
house was maintaining its reputation. On the twenty-fifth of July 
they visited Charles Copeland's seventy-acre farm, at Wyoming; 
but the day being so hot, and their business not being with farms, 
they merely rode to it, and under the shade of a large tree unani- 
mously conceded that all was right with it, and " expressed will- 
ingness to return to the cool shade and comfortable seats they 
had just left." They " trusted that their satisfaction and pleasure 
in this visit was mutual." On the thirty-first of July they visited 
the famous old Governor Gore estate in W^altham, and Oakley 


Place, the Pratt estate, in Watertown. They were impressed by 
the vast spaces and grandeur — broad lawns, noble forest trees 
of a century's growth; and the large, airy dwellings were remi- 
niscent of days when land was sold by the foot only on the sea- 
board. The Gore estate covered 140 acres, of which 105 were 
devoted to farming and the rest to the manor. Much of it was 
under tillage, and the rest in grass, grain and woodland; and the 
manor lot consisted of shade grounds, lawn, large fruit and flower 
gardens, greenhouses, a vegetable department, and walks, drive- 
ways, and outbuildings. T. W. Walker, the owner, explained that 
he intended to import from England a newly invented machine 
for close cutting, gathering in and rolling lawn grass all at the 
same time. Robert Murray had been superintendent here for 
twenty-one years, and was described by the Committee as a " very 
industrious, intelligent and zealous cultivator, as well as a capable 
and most worthy man." The next trip was by a pleasant ride on 
the horse-railroad to the Hovey's great conservatory in Cam- 
bridge, where they examined the forty-acre nursery, and passed 
an hour over refreshments and social chat. Summing up their 
impressions of the summer's work, they commended the premiums 
and the inspection of the numerous gardens as a good substitute 
for an experimental garden, one of the early objects of the Society, 
and awarded the flower garden prizes to Messrs. Cabot and 
Walker, the graperies prize to Mrs. Durfee, and the pleasure 
grounds — as distinguished from farm — prize to Mr. Copeland. 
In 1857 the Library was still without funds for much increase; 
and as the publications of the year were neither numerous nor of 
remarkable interest, most of the books added were continuations 
of works already bought. The sum of $2812 had been appropriated 
for premiums. The season was so bad for flowers that the Hall 
was not opened until the sixteenth of May, and the weekly shows 
were hardly up to the average. The year was marked, however, 
by a welcome revolt on the part of the Committee: for the first 
time since prizes were established they did not have " monstrosi- 
ties " forced upon them; the designs, though showing a " lingering 
fondness for the huge and monstrous," were generally in good 
taste; but they entered a decided protest against the " use of 
flowers as glutenized ornaments of wooden, moss-covered crosses, 


anchors, eagles, and all that class of floral d< signs.' 1 You might 
call the things what you liked, but don't call them floral. There 
were in the report four paragraphs of such disgust as our fathers 
were capable of when their patience had been overstrained. There- 
after no such offense was committed; but the campaign against 
bad taste evidently continued, for three years later we find that 
the Committee were " no longer frightened and horrified at those 
monstrosities called floral designs, nor was the Hall decorated 
with amaranthine and immortelle crosses, pinned up by a huge 
rosette in the shape of a large yellow dahlia or marigold "; but 
some of the bouquets had to be removed from the table by the 
Committee; and it was " time that some remedy were devised for 
admitting to the exhibition masses of flowers tied into a bunch 
and called bouquets, and allowing the owner an admission ticket 
as a premium for his or her want of taste." 

The annual exhibition — good, but not so good as others had 
been — was held in Music Hall undecorated, with tables arranged 
as before, but with two circular stands in addition to the stage for 
potted plants, and a long table for the excellent smaller designs 
and bouquets. A band played both day and evening, and on the 
closing night the spaces between the tables were crowded by 
members and guests and the public to hear Henry Ward Beecher, 
who spoke upon the subject of " Flowers." M. P. Wilder, in his 
address at the fiftieth anniversary of the Society, refers to this as 
a return to the old custom of an address at the annual show, as it 
was; yet we may note that the nature and intent of Mr. Beecher's 
address were hardly the same as those of the addresses w T hich 
have already been summarized. Beecher described the pleasure 
derived from a garden and the nurture of plants, and the influence 
of flowers on our daily life, with a sincerity and persuasive force 
for which his text, the exhibition itself, must have well prepared 
his hearers. 

If the flower exhibitions were lacking in quantity through the 
season, they were nevertheless not disappointing in new r varieties 
and in occasional splendid specimens. At the opening show the 
fuchsias offered by H. Hollis Hunnew T ell were over eight feet high, 
the most magnificent in their lavish bloom of any ever seen at the 
Hall; and many new varieties of phloxes were shown by the 


Hoveys and Joseph Breck and Company. The season was unpro- 
pitious for fruits, especially pears and apples, the latter being 
especially meagre. John Gordon, of Brighton, had discovered that 
by a " sweating process " he could get a reddish or russet skin on 
his Bartlett pears, and sell them at ten dollars a bushel while in 
other wagons by the side of his, pears of the same variety and size 
but with green skins, brought only three! The Dorchester black- 
berry maintained its superiority over the Lawton after compara- 
tive testing. E. A. Brackett at this time remarked that the Con- 
cord, though not a favorite with him as a table grape, could be 
used for a wine not inferior to the best brown sherry. Because of 
the growing attention to grape culture, the subject of native wine 
was interesting also, and in September a committee and many 
horticulturists from a distance visited the E. Paige and Com- 
pany's wine vaults, under the City Reservoir. The yield for the 
season was reported as twenty thousand gallons, mostly from 
Massachusetts grapes ; and Paige also made brandy from the pulp 
and skins, valuable for medicinal and " other purposes." The 
Committee explained that grapes could be grown in abundance by 
stone walls, and that Paige paid liberally. As to vegetables, the 
Committee had this year themselves visited many gardens, be- 
cause of the difficulty and expense of transporting vegetables — 
a fact which may partially explain the past apparent indifference 
in exhibiting them — and were much gratified. James J. H. 
Gregory, of Marblehead, brought the Hubbard squash to the 
attention of the Society. The seeds had been brought to Marble- 
head about twenty years before, and Gregory had heard of its 
good qualities from Mrs. Elizabeth Hubbard, through whom he 
and his father got seeds for themselves, and for whom the squash 
was named by the elder Gregory. 

On a clear, biting zero day, the sixth of January, 1857, tne 
Committee on Gardens again visited M. H. Simpson's grapery in 
Saxonville, and found in it genial warmth and continued success 
with the two-crop idea. Late in June they visited the two-hundred- 
acre estate of H. Hollis Hunnewell on the high lands overlooking 
the lake at West Needham. They first inspected the flower garden, 
and then proceeded down the terraces through the natural wild 
woods to the summer house where hospitality awaited, — mag- 


nificent grapes, mammoth strawberries, Stanwick nectarines, 
peaches and figs. After visiting the fruit gardens and greenhouses 
they paused to admire the engine-house overlooking the lake, 
where a small engine supplied power for grinding corn, sawing 
wood, and pumping lake water by way of a reservoir in the barn 
through pipes spreading wherever they were needed. Next the 
evergreen and deciduous trees imported by Mr. Hunnewell de- 
lighted them, especially a small Washingtonia gigantea, or great 
tree of California, though they doubted whether it could survive 
our winters. Then they went to the Italian garden, — but would 
attempt no further description 4 of such a splendid estate. Six 
years before, it was nothing but pitch pine forest. Cemeteries, of 
course, had a place in the Committee's interests, and on July the 
eighth they visited Woodlawn, in Maiden. Here they were par- 
ticularly struck with the fine rhododendrons, intermingled with 
Kalmia latifolia, and reflected that these lovely shrubs were 
worthy of wider knowledge and cultivation — a suggestion which 
we shall see began almost at once to germinate. At C. S. Hol- 
brook's place in East Randolph they noticed the symmetry of the 
edgings in the flower garden, and in the fruit garden the fine 
dwarf apple trees; and again they went to the Hoveys' establish- 
ment; but caring more for taste than for size, they reported that 
no visit gave them greater pleasure than that to the five-or-six- 
acre place of William Whiting in Roxbury. The only other visit 
that need detain us is that to Mr. Murray's, in Roxbury, for here 
another suggestion originated. Murray's cherries had been totally 
destroyed by robins. " Here it seems not out of place to ask," says 
the indignant Committee, " why such a bird should be protected 
by law; a bird which annually inflicts damage to an immense 
amount upon the fruit-growing interests, and is of no value what- 
ever in destroying worms, grubs, or insects." They recommended 
at once that the Society should petition the legislature for repeal 
of this law. 

Early in the following January, Edward S. Rand, Jr., made a 
motion to that effect; but the Society had learned that " he who 
believeth shall not make haste." An animated discussion took 
place, and J. W. P. Jenks, the Society's Professor of Entomology, 

4 One is given in Hovey's Magazine of Horticulture, Vol. XXI. 


recommended that they should learn more of the robin's habits 
before acting. It was thereupon proposed to investigate the bird's 
food in order to come to a positive conclusion in regard to its 
utility to the horticulturist; and Professor Jenks undertook the 
task. He found in the gizzards of birds taken at appropriate times 
of the day from early March until May, not a particle of vegetable 
matter; nine-tenths of the material was of one kind, the bibio 
larva, which comes abroad about the twentieth of May, continues 
two weeks, and feeds on the roots of plants, killing them. Until 
towards the end of June other injurious insects and worms were 
found; then strawberries, cherries and pulpy fruit generally, 
mixed with insects, elderberries and pokeberries during August 
and September, and grasshoppers during October. Consequently 
the robin, eating from one to two hundred of these creatures daily 
during March and April, had all the time been rendering us a ser- 
vice of which we had been wholly unaware. Thus, as far as the 
Society was concerned, the robin escaped the fate of Llewellyn's 
famous dog. The whole matter is a striking illustration of how 
knowledge grows ; but — perhaps because the bird did exact his 
wages in a few cherries and strawberries when he could find noth- 
ing better — the prejudice would not down, and as late as 1891 
we find Thomas C. Thurlow, in one of the meetings for discussion, 
again bringing the evidence from scientific men to bear against a 
" prejudice unjust and unfounded." 

About the year 1839, twenty years before, a gentleman came to 
one of the Society's dahlia shows, and was so struck with the 
beauty of the flowers that, though very busy, he began to cultivate 
a few feet of garden in the rear of his house at 116 Tremont 
Street. This he increased gradually, and in two or three years car- 
ried off some prizes at the shows. Becoming interested in fruits 
also, he bought an estate in Watertown, with terraces on the left 
bank of the river, which he planted with pears. This man was Josiah 
Stickney, who in 1869 was to l° an the sum of twelve thousand 
dollars to the Library, from the income of which for thirty years 
it received seven hundred dollars annually. On the third of Octo- 
ber, 1857, he was elected president to succeed Joseph S. Cabot, 
who had held the office for six years. On January the second, 1858, 
Mr. Cabot rejoiced at the prosperity of the Society, which was 


now out of debt, and had acquired much in permanent funds; and 
he included in his estimate of the fair prospects the election of 
such a man as Mr. Stickney. Joseph S. Cabot's administration, 
as well as his modesty, can be easily appraised from his brief 
words of farewell. He emphasized the great help he had received 
from his associates, commended the industry and vigilance of the 
committees, and congratulated the Society on the perfect una- 
nimity with which the deliberations had been conducted. That 
these conditions were very largely a reflection of his own fidelity 
and tolerance no reader of the Transactions of the vigorously 
growing Society can doubt. That the Society had continued in 
unchecked prosperity amid the general wreck and ruin of prop- 
erty during the monetary crisis then at its height is eloquent com- 
ment on the skill and caution of its officers. A piece of plate was 
voted to Mr. Cabot as a testimonial. 

In a modest address Mr. Stickney took his self-imposed " oath 
of office," and then passed to what he called a business suggestion: 
to confine annual exhibitions to the Society's own rooms, and to 
make their quality suit the space, except on the years when the 
mechanics held their grand fair — then Music Hall could be used. 
He called attention, as Samuel Walker had done, to the subject 
of landscape gardening, which he said was almost neglected as a 
science and imperfectly developed in practice, and pointed out 
that the Garden Committee could do something in the way of 
criticism on their visits. He also urged his hearers not to lose sight 
of the idea of an experimental garden when means and circum- 
stances should be favorable — and in this connection it is inter- 
esting to note that years later he first intended to leave the So- 
ciety his Watertown estate for this purpose, and substituted for 
it the loan above mentioned through the advice of others. Urging 
everybody to keep up with the times in the discoveries bearing upon 
horticulture, he laid especial emphasis on the necessity of con- 
serving " that corner stone," harmony of feeling among them- 
selves, " without which the Society would crumble and fall," and 
that " freedom from prejudice " so necessary for success. 

The suggestion of having fewer exhibitions was this year acted 
upon as an experiment, and the Hall was opened for premium dis- 
plays only once a month, and admission charged. The disadvan- 


tage was that the perfection of certain flowers would often fail to 
coincide with their prize days. The great success of the rose show, 
which occupied two days, suggested that it should be made a 
yearly institution; and on June the twelfth the Garden Commit- 
tee's call of the previous autumn for more attention to the rhodo- 
dendron was answered by a beautiful display from H. Hollis 
Hunnewell, — the first of a long line constantly increasing in 
magnificence. In view of subsequent developments it is worth not- 
ing that the pinks were so inconceivably bad that the Committee 
begged for proper attention to them in the future. The Fruit Com- 
mittee, also, commenting on the limited space available at the 
annual exhibition in the Society's Hall, explained the great advan- 
tage of exhibiting the " horrible example ": some people want to 
know what to avoid. The summer had been bad, but the autumn 
serene and warm, with no killing frosts until the eleventh of No- 
vember, and some plants of the Jenny Lind strawberry were in 
full bloom on the seventh. The raising of forced fruits, the " com- 
plete triumph over nature," was becoming more and more ab- 
sorbing. Cherry cultivation was discouragingly involved with bird 
and insect enemies; but the Dorchester and the Lawton black- 
berries were almost perfect. Plums were so plagued by the black 
wart that their cultivation was likely to be abandoned. The grape 
excited the most intense interest: the quest of a good-sized grape 
which would ripen during our short summer went forward with a 
spirit which meant eventual success. The quality of the Isabella 
and the Catawba were perfect, but they would not do in the open 
air, — nor would the Concord — and the best ones seemed to be 
the Diana and the Delaware — the Delaware, according to E. A. 
Brackett, at the head of American grapes. Apples and pears were 
excellently displayed; and the great collections of Colonel Wilder 
and the Hoveys were extremely valuable as sources from which 
information spread everywhere. The vegetables had suffered from 
the cold rains in the early part of the season, and little was re- 
ported except renewed gratitude to J. J. H. Gregory for bringing 
the Hubbard squash to public notice, and sixty varieties of beans 
of the principal sorts exhibited for comparative purposes and put 
up in small boxes labelled with the names and habits, whether 
dwarf or running. 


The Garden Committee did little during the year except keep 
their eye on interesting places previously visited — M. H. Simp- 
son's graperies in Saxonville, where they recommended thinning 
the vines; John D. Bates's place in Swampscott, which they 
found greatly improved since their visit five years before; and 
Woodlawn and Mount Auburn Cemeteries. The Library had ac- 
quired several valuable additions, notably Lambert's Pinus, which 
was described as " rare and scarce." The property of the Society 
was now estimated at $68,720, with no debt but that contracted 
with Mount Auburn as the Society's share in the former's late 
constructive work, about nine thousand dollars. 

President Stickney had before his election stipulated that he 
should not be called upon for a second term; and Joseph Breck 
of Brighton, who had joined the Society on the date of its act of 
incorporation, had been chosen president. At the meeting in Janu- 
ary, 1859, Mr. Stickney referred to the death during the past 
year of Zebedee Cook, characterizing him as one of the large- 
hearted, open-handed men now dropping from the ranks, whose 
work it devolved on the other members to continue. He regarded 
the settlement with Mount Auburn, which had happily ended the 
dispute about the income from extensions, as second in impor- 
tance only to the contract of 1835, and attributed it to a " spirit of 
moderation and mutual kindness," — which we are not surprised 
to find when we see the names on one committee of Messrs. Wilder, 
Walker, Rand, Hovey, Austin and Stickney, and on the other, Dr. 
Bigelow, B. A. Gould and James Cheever. In introducing the new 
President, Mr. Stickney remarked on his long interest of a third 
of a century in horticulture and rural affairs as a cultivator, edi- 
tor and publisher. Mr. Breck had little to suggest for the coming 
year except strict economy, without discontinuance of the usual 
liberality in appropriations: the organization was complete, the 
regulations excellent, the committees efficient, and there seemed 
to be no obstacles ahead. Samuel Walker's suggestion of new 
quarters had finally resulted in a committee to consider a new lo- 
cation, and Mr. Breck now looked forward to the time when there 
might be a horticultural exchange, a place to meet from week to 
week and discuss successes and failures. He dwelt on the happy 
fact that personal rank and distinction had in horticulture sub- 


mitted to the equality which nature recognizes, and hoped that a 
place would be provided where rank, talent, wealth, industry and 
skill might blend and all classes might exchange opinions. He 
hoped also that members would use their pens more, and that 
premiums might be offered for practical essays, — a suggestion 
which at once bore fruit, as the pages of the Transactions testify. 
There were now five hundred and twenty-six members. The 
year was again unfavorable — not a single month of it, we are 
told, was free from frost — and the Flower Committee were in an 
excusably bad humor. They reported jealousy between amateur 
and professional gardeners — rivalry would perhaps have been a 
better word, though President Breck in his next address did speak 
anxiously of the necessity for " united and harmonious action," 
and recommended a firm resolve for " union and concord " for the 
general good. They suggested that two grades of prizes should be 
established, but acknowledged that this project might produce 
the evil it was designed to cure. They scolded somewhat about 
exhibitors' carelessness, and remarked that matters would be 
better if there were less " pretended devotion to the interests of 
the Society, and more earnest work in its behalf "; that it was 
not creditable to see the stands filled with flowers only on prize 
days, not only by the gardeners — they could not be blamed — 
their daily bread was involved — but by those who ought to be 
" above mere mercenary considerations." Both amateurs and gar- 
deners, " with a few honorable exceptions," they declared, had 
plants and flowers in one hand and extended the other for money. 
In one of the articles published during the year William C. 
Strong, a very wise man, called the meagre show of fall blooming 
roses a disgrace. E. S. Rand, Jr., complained that the gardeners 
were trying to meet the demand for new, rare and expensive flow- 
ers, and were neglecting the old and well-tried favorites ; but this 
complaint seems to answer itself: the gardeners had to meet the 
demand. Yet despite all grievances and the cold summer, the rose 
show was a great success, the flowers mostly good, and a taste 
was developing for ferns and mosses which suggested a premium 
for cryptogamous or flowerless plants. The pinks had improved, 
but the tulips and pansies were poor, and no prizes could be 
awarded for rhododendrons. The greenhouse plants were, of 


course, independent of weather conditions, and the early shows 
were filled with fine specimens of ericas, azaleas, polyanthus and 
others. On July the sixteenth W. C. Strong exhibited eighteen 
varieties of gloxinias, and in August the Hoveys sent thirty varie- 
ties of annuals. On September the tenth Mr. Strong exhibited 
Tritoma Uvaria for the first time, and at the annual show the 
Hoveys contributed the first large collection of variegated leaved 
plants. The fruits succeeded better, though the Committee urged 
more care and skill in cultivation. Trees had been damaged by the 
previous winter, especially the Bartlett pear trees, and the pros- 
pect for the annual exhibition in Music Hall from the twentieth 
through the twenty-third of September was doubtful; but the 
fruit exhibits were excellent, and the only misfortune was the 
stormy weather, which kept down the attendance badly. There 
had again been weekly exhibitions this year. The Dorchester 
blackberry exhibit in August was the best ever seen in the Hall, 
but the grapes, excellent at the annual show, as a whole resulted 
poorly. The Wilson's Albany strawberry was shown at the rose 
show in June, but did not commend itself; and the Fruit Com- 
mittee considered it their duty to warn the public against the 
" Massachusetts White Grape," — which they sarcastically said 
was rightly named: the woods of the State abounded in grapes of 
similar quality. The vegetables had suffered also from the weather, 
but the Hubbard squash was still a consolation; it was declared 
to stand in the same relation to other squashes as the Bartlett to 
the summer pears. 

The " Committee on Ornamental Gardening," as it was now 
called, in July visited Franklin B. Fay's garden in Chelsea, where 
they found the grapes excellent and the flowers worthy of poetic 
description. Here they found Mrs. Fay the presiding genius, adds 
the report; " here she spends the hours of early morn arranging, 
planting, and cultivating with her own hand the floral treasures of 
the earth. What pity that so few of the ladies of our land imitate 
her example; inhaling the fresh breath of the young day, and the 
invigorating aroma of the newly turned loam; planting the roses 
of health on their cheeks, and nurturing the germs of health and 
strength and buoyancy of spirit." The writer is, of course, Samuel 
Walker. In like vein is the description of a visit to E. S. Rand's 


country place in Dedham, where they found M. P. Wilder, E. 
Wight and others, with whom they enjoyed Mr. Rand's hospitality 
and viewed the nine acres of tasteful cultivation, with especial 
delight at the rhododendrons, and more poetry for the greenhouse 
plants. Here also were a grapery and an orchid house. 

The Library had been kept in excellent condition during 1859; 
but because of the expected sale of the Society's building, which 
might leave the books without a permanent home for perhaps a 
year, none of the much-needed reference books had been acquired. 
But the Committee asked for four hundred dollars for the follow- 
ing year, doubtless largely for the purpose of binding the peri- 

The Society began the year i860 in great financial comfort. 
Nearly a third of the Mount Auburn debt had been paid, the re- 
mainder was to be wiped out soon, and the income from the Ceme- 
tery was to be between four and five thousand dollars yearly. The 
sale of the property showed an increase in value of over twenty 
thousand dollars, making the total assets about ninety thousand; 
and, in connection with the statement, W. R. Austin, Treasurer 
for the last ten years, was warmly praised and thanked for his 
fidelity and vigilant eye to expenses, which had saved the Soci- 
ety an amount hard to estimate. 5 President Breck in his annual 
address explained that there was no necessity for haste in pur- 
chasing another site, and that temporary rooms would undoubt- 
edly be provided before April. In this connection it is interesting 
to note that Marshall P. Wilder submitted on the last day of the 
year 1859 a paper embodying facts which might be used as a 
memorial to the Legislature for a reservation of lands on the Back 
Bay for " Societies devoted to horticulture, agriculture, the orna- 
mental arts, and science in its application to the various purposes 
of life." This was a specific, keenly worded exposition of the ob- 

5 Harvey D. Parker tried in 1854 to get the Society to sell its property to him, 
but all it would do was to grant him a six-inch strip of land, with the right to use 
the western wall of the Hall if he would set his new building, the Parker House, 
back twenty-two inches from the line of the street in order to give room for gutters 
from the roof of the Hall. This at first seemed a profitable plan for both parties, 
but the result was that until the new Parker House was built, " the Parker House 
had to pay taxes upon land assessed for ten thousand dollars in order to make 
room for a conductor pipe." — " Boston and the Parker House," James W. Spring, 


vious public benefits derived from the Horticultural Society, and 
an outline of its needs — a more spacious edifice, a larger library 
room, an area for trees around its building, and a conservatory. 
It is unnecessary to add that the idea was never carried out, 
though it continued for some time to be very attractive. Mr. Breck 
comforted the Society for the disappointments of the past season 
by pointing out that the very hardness of our climate gave vigor 
to overcome the difficulties, as the successful annual exhibition 
had demonstrated. Where the fruits came from nobody knew. The 
Concord grape, which alone had not been hurt in the least by the 
weather in the early part of the season, drew a special encomium. 
The prominent event, however, was the sale of the buildings, 
which had been consummated during the week; but Mr. Breck in 
closing was obliged to record the death of Josiah Bradlee, the un- 
failing benefactor and venerable friend through so many years. 

The smaller shows of i860, in the temporary but commodious 
rooms at the corner of West and Washington Streets, presaged a 
good year, which the annual exhibition confirmed; though a sharp 
frost on the night of the twenty-eighth of September put an early 
end to them. Regular premiums had for the first time been offered 
at these shows for plants and cut flowers, and the result was, of 
course, much greater beauty. The rose show at the end of June 
was not especially good, but greenhouse plants were never better, 
cut flowers were lovely, and variegated leaved plants were every- 
where. Some fine new ferns were shown, and in June the irises 
were beautiful. The hollyhock and the gladiolus seemed to be 
winning public favor away from the dahlia. It was this year that 
the Committee had to remove from the tables the " masses of 
flowers tied in a bunch and called bouquets "; but they rejoiced 
at the absence of " monstrosities," and a year later excluded large 
bouquets entirely. They announced that nothing not up to stand- 
ard would get a premium. We find in the Transactions an interest- 
ing article by C. G. Sprague on the plants introduced from abroad, 
— some of which, like the daisy and the buttercup, he says must 
be execrated as intolerable pests; and a few careful and interest- 
ing hints on orchids, by E. S. Rand, Jr. All fruits except grapes 
were excellent, especially strawberries, of which Hovey's seedling 
was still the best — though there was always the need of a better 


which should combine the good qualities of all. Hardy grapes were 
still a failure, said the Committee, and cautioned the public against 
the grapes shown by James Hill, which were outrageously poor, 
foxy and hard. Baldwin, Primate, Gravenstein and Washington 
apples were commended, and the varieties of pears were bewilder- 
ingly numerous. The new Clapp's Favorite was called one of the 
most promising the Committee had seen. On the last day of June, 
the Hoveys showed La Constante strawberry. In the vegetable 
department the year's results were unusually promising; indeed, 
it was one of the main features at the annual show. J. J. H. Greg- 
ory at last received a special premium of silver plate for the intro- 
duction of the Hubbard squash; and a gratuity for his article 
on it in Hovey 's Magazine. George Newhall also received a gratuity 
for the new " Perfected " tomato. The annual exhibition, in Music 
Hall, from the eighteenth through the twenty-first of September, 
was an unqualified success both in presentation and in patronage. 
This year a very low platform in place of one of the usual five 
tables extended the length of the hall, broken in the centre by a 
fountain; and along this platform stood the plants. The stage held 
the stands of cut flowers, which completely covered it. Thus was 
obtained a terraced and well proportioned effect of beautiful bloom 
and foliage which was a long step forward in the art of exhibiting. 
The superb show of fruits amounted to over twenty thousand 
specimens, Hovey and Company and M. P. Wilder each exhibit- 
ing three hundred varieties of pears. The Garden Committee 
visited during the year eleven places, of which G. G. Hubbard's 
orchard house in Cambridge was the most interesting. This was 
the only one of its kind in Massachusetts, and was an experiment 
which the Committee regarded as very promising. The building 
was a hundred and fifteen feet by seventeen feet, the back wall 
eleven feet, and the front wall six and a half feet. Here there was 
a gain of ten days in the ripening of early pears, and of about a 
month in later ones. The visit to Mount Auburn was the first offi- 
cial one made to it, and the report hazarded the opinion that it was 
in many respects unequalled in the world. 

The energetic E. S. Rand, Jr., had been made Chairman of the 
Library Committee for i860. It was he who had scolded the flower 
cultivators the year before; and he now announced that it was the 


business of the Society to keep a good library; that if proper exer- 
tions had been made the Library would now have been the best 
of its kind; and that why such exertions had not been made was 
incomprehensible. To be sure, the former dark back room, front- 
ing on an obscure, ill-lighted court, where gas had to be used to 
read ordinary print and where the books were in danger of mold 
from the dampness, might account somewhat for it; yet Mr. Rand 
had noticed that a fondness for that old room lingered in the 
hearts of many of the oldest and most respected members ! When 
the Society moved into the new rooms he put the books into neat 
cases, established a reading-room, sent out a circular letter to the 
editor of every horticultural paper and periodical asking for a 
copy of each, with terms, and sifted from the mass received forty- 
four — three horticultural, forty agricultural, and one scientific. 
This list was to be revised as use and demand should indicate. 
Each periodical was stamped with the name of the Society, and 
" Not to be taken from the room," — and the result was fewer 
" accidents of missing periodicals." A book was produced for re- 
cording the names of borrowers; and a list was issued of missing 
volumes with a request that members should examine their li- 
braries and see whether any of these books " had not ignorantly 
been retained." The " Dutch Uncle " is sometimes a very valu- 
able person; and we feel indebted for the information that there 
were about nine hundred and twenty-five volumes in the Library 
— twenty-five folios, a hundred quartos, seven hundred octavos, 
and a hundred duodecimos. The whole number of papers and 
pamphlets was not far from two thousand. The Committee re- 
quested five hundred dollars for 1861, and hoped the Society 
would pay about fifty dollars every year for binding periodicals. 
In conclusion, Mr. Rand made it clear that to R. McCleary Cope- 
land, who had been librarian for seventeen years, was due the 
greatest praise for preserving the books and making the very best 
of adverse conditions, and they suggested a testimonial to him and 
a committee to get it. 

Chapter VIII • 1861-1865. IN WAR TIME 

IN January, 1861, the Society was out of debt, and worth about 
$89,540. There were 580 members, but death had removed 
several well-beloved names from the rolls. B. V. French, the 
mild and modest W. R. Sumner, Enoch Bartlett, and — Samuel 
Walker, the able, enthusiastic, lovable, sentimental and devoted 
friend of everybody. Mr. Breck could hardly speak of " him we 
so much loved," beyond the words already quoted, that he was a 
president of great ability, and that he died with the harness on. 
M. P. Wilder and E. S. Rand, Jr., paid touching tribute to him as 
a man; and we have had ample opportunity to perceive his con- 
structive influence on the activities of the Society. The petition 
to the Legislature about a reservation of land in the Back Bay 
had been defeated in the Senate, and Mr. Breck supposed the 
scheme might well have appeared quixotic; yet he thought the 
Back Bay was going to develop into the most prominent and at- 
tractive part of the city, and that when the sections wanted by the 
Society should be surrounded with " elegant residences," the So- 
ciety would profit. But the aspect of the country's affairs took 
away his courage, and brought misgivings about the settlement of 
the Back Bay lands. The only policy before the threatening storm 
of war was to avoid heavy expenses. 

As if in harmony with the political gloom, the season was very 
unfavorable on account of drought. The sun scorched, the grass- 
hoppers and the crickets came and devoured the more delicate 
flowers and damaged the annuals. Pot plants were good, though 
again Mr. Rand declared that some were admitted only as a con- 
trast to the beauty of others, and would have taken a first prize 
for mealy bug and red spider. Madame Miel was awarded a silver 
medal for some wax flowers, so well done that many thought them 
real. The dahlias continued to wane in popularity, and the bou- 
quets were never poorer. In discouragement the Committee asked 
what good the twelve hundred dollars for premiums had done for 


horticulture? No person in his senses would give half of that for 
everything exhibited during the year, they stated. The exhibitions 
were worse than ten years ago, the exhibitors wanted only the 
money, the Committee's labors were thankless, there was no help 
from exhibitors, and the rules had been broken! A reduction in 
prizes was recommended, to awaken generous competition; and 
diplomas and labels of commendation like those of the English 
societies were suggested, together with statements of informa- 
tion on well grown plants and flowers, and weekly or monthly dis- 
cussions. But when the good Chairman says that the public valued 
the dime more than the " finest horticultural display," — which 
does not seem to fit the above description — we perceive that he, 
like President Breck, was pardonably low-spirited, and we need 
not take the report too seriously. Men's hearts were failing them 
through fear. And as if further to disturb his equanimity, on Sat- 
urday, the thirteenth of July, a plant labelled " Native Heath, 
found growing wild within twenty miles of Boston," and which 
was very evidently Scotch heather, was exhibited by Jackson 
Dawson, "a young gardener of Cambridge"! This seemed ob- 
viously an attempt to deceive the Committee. Everybody knew 
that there was no heather anywhere near Boston. A letter was 
sent to Dawson asking him to lead the Committee to the location; 
a week passed without a reply ; and the Committee dismissed the 
matter as an attempted imposition. But a day or two later Dawson 
appeared and explained that his employer had forbidden him to 
communicate with the Committee, while he, the employer, had 
been diligently trying to discover for himself the plant's habitat. 
On the fifth of August, Dawson led the Committee to Tewksbury, 
and there on the farm of Charles H. Thwing was the heather, 
without the least doubt. The next question was, how did it get 
there? A Scotchman named Sutton lived close by, but he denied 
all knowledge of it, and when pressed — for here was heather 
and here was a Scotchman — he indignantly replied, " Wuld'na I 
hae been a fule, mon, to sow it on another mon's land, when my 
ain, as gude, would hae grown it as well? " The Committee per- 
force agreed. Other theories were advanced; but finally the evi- 
dence was declared to indicate that the plant was indigenous, — 
a conclusion which Professor Gray also arrived at after a careful 


study of the facts. But it is certain that something was discovered 
in connection with this matter which was to be of more profit to 
the Massachusetts Horticultural Society than indigenous Scotch 
heather. That was " Jackson Dawson, a young gardener of Cam- 

If the number of plant and flower exhibits at the shows was 
small — as in such a time of distress was natural — their quality 
was still steadily advancing. For the first time appeared a very 
fine double zinnia, described as equal to a dahlia. Variegated 
plants, fifty species of ferns from G. G. Hubbard of Cambridge, 
twice as many ferns and lycopods from Dennis Murray, roses 
when their day came — June the twenty-ninth — to show them- 
selves with the fine strawberry display, all were exceptional. 
Francis Parkman wrote for the Transactions an article on " The 
Garden Classification of the Rose." The small income from the 
opening exhibition, increased to nearly two hundred dollars by 
subscription, was given to the soldiers' relief fund. A similar re- 
sult occurred in the fruit department: quantity was far below the 
average, but quality above it. The weather in the early part of the 
year had been freakish beyond precedent: from forty degrees at 
noon on February the seventh the thermometer fell to twenty-one 
degrees below zero on the following day; and from seventy-five 
above on the third of March it reached zero on the eighteenth. The 
fruits, with one exception, were a failure; but of this misfortune 
the Committee at once made a stepping-stone, and began the prac- 
tice of recording the weather conditions and their results for fu- 
ture use. The exception to the general failure was grapes. The 
summer and the autumn were entirely favorable to them; there 
was no mildew; the Isabella for the first time reached perfect ma- 
turity, and an exceptional opportunity was given of observing and 
comparing the varieties. The fight for the right grape was still 
going on, but J. S. Cabot observed that to believe the rocky hill- 
sides of Massachusetts were some day to be covered with vine- 
yards, rivalling those of France, demanded a faith strong enough 
to remove the hills themselves. The show of vegetables at the 
annual exhibition, which was of course this year in the Society's 
rooms, was excellent, and never surpassed in the superiority of 
esculent roots on the tables ; but the season had been too unf avor- 


able, cultivators' minds too distracted by the unhappy state of 
the country, and the value of their products too uncertain to 
produce good results. For the same reasons the work of the Gar- 
den Committee was light. They too were depressed, for agricul- 
ture was stationary in Massachusetts because of the attractions 
of the exhaustless fields of the West. They visited the estate of 
Dr. Lodge on Cape Ann and were interested by his ideas on prun- 
ing; and the estate of E. S. Rand, Senior, in Dedham stirred 
their enthusiasm. His rhododendrons, kalmias, azaleas, orchids, 
ferns, lycopods and variegated plants, probably unequalled in 
New England, were a benefaction and example which made 
them declare they should not rest until there was a public con- 
servatory worthy of the Society, of Boston, and of the Common- 

Under the conditions described it is not strange that the inter- 
est in the Library increased. The reading-room was used con- 
stantly, the Committee met every month, rules were made and en- 
forced, and an annual examination of the books was instituted. 
There had been almost no committee meetings for sixteen years 
until this Committee took charge, two years before; the hundred 
dollars annually had been used for binding magazines, not for new 
books; the Library had in fact been almost a dead thing. E. S. 
Rand and his committee continued the infusion of new life with 
characteristic energy, filled out many incomplete sets of books, 
obtained or replaced many missing ones, and began to call vigor- 
ously for a fire-proof room to protect the books, many of which 
were now, because of judicious buying, worth much more than 
their cost. And the only way to get the fire-proof room was to have 
a new Hall. 

On January the fourth, 1862, the membership list showed a 
total of 571, a surprisingly small loss considering the times, for 
but twenty-two members had been discontinued. President Breck 
said that those who were in the war should be continued as mem- 
bers despite non-payment of dues. We read that the only recorded 
case of expulsion occurred during 1861, and are glad that no par- 
ticularization is made beyond the words " due to acts of flagrant 
immorality and crime not to be passed over." One silver lining to 
the clouds of war was that just when the Society was looking for 


a site for its new building, real estate was greatly depressed in 
value; and the Executive Committee were authorized to explore 
the market. Another matter of interest was the announcement 
that the projected History of the Society, which under the general 
direction of the Committee on Publication had been undertaken 
by the Reverend Luther Farnham, was making progress. In 1854, 
and five and six years later, the matter of collecting and publishing 
as much as was valuable to preserve of the Society's transactions 
had been considered; but it was not until 1861 that we find the 
task begun. The publications for many years, — and the first vol- 
ume was missing when Mr. Farnham began — contained few of 
the most essential facts and statistics, and were planned on no sys- 
tematic scheme. Some, but by no means all of these facts, are scat- 
tered through the " New England Farmer " and the " Magazine of 
Horticulture," and therefore to be collected and verified only after 
laborious search. The Committee reflected that few men were liv- 
ing who took part in the formation of the Society, and that if the 
History should be delayed much longer, desirable information 
would be irrecoverably lost. Would that they had taken it into 
their heads to collect reminiscences, instead of sending the unfor- 
tunate clergyman on a hunt for material already printed ! A year 
later President Breck said that the manuscript, though nearly 
complete, needed careful revision with some alterations and ad- 
ditions ; and that is the last we hear of it until ten years later, when 
Robert Manning, the Secretary, began to revise and complete it 
up to the semi-centennial. His result was such an accurate, 
scholarly, complete volume as only an enthusiastic lover of horti- 
culture, a faithful and intelligent brain and a typically New Eng- 
land conscience could possibly have produced. The next best thing 
to collecting reminiscences was done, however: the painting of the 
portraits of the past presidents, including Mr. Breck. That of Gen- 
eral Dearborn, a copy of one belonging to his family, was pro- 
nounced perfect by those who had known him; Walker's was a 
" speaking likeness," though copied from a photograph; Cook's 
not so good, though correctly copied from a family portrait; and 
Vose's, painted from a miniature on ivory, " pretty good," though 
" not judged by his acquaintances a very striking likeness." Since 
there was no need at this time of commenting on what all might 


see, we do not know what success there was in the case of the 

The sum of $3,200 was appropriated for the various committees 
for 1862, though rather fearfully, because Mount Auburn im- 
provements called for $1500. The fury of the war was at its 
height, and the watchword again was strict economy. But this 
year happily proved to be as favorable for the products of the 
earth as the preceding one had been bad. The exhibitions were 
necessarily small; but the number of contributors was encourag- 
ing and the quality of the exhibits was never better. Roses, par- 
ticularly the improved hybrid perpetuals, were magnificent on 
the twenty-first of June; the growing taste for ferns and lycopods 
was very evident in the exhibits; dahlias once more were beauti- 
ful; and on the twelfth of July came from Messrs. Spooner and 
Parkman the marvellous new lily, Lilium auratum, already shown 
in England, and rightly described by the " Transcript " as the 
greatest acquisition to the lily tribe for many years. Plants of 
most lands had come to America through England; but not the 
Japanese, thanks to Dr. G. R. Hall, from whom Francis Parkman 
had received this and other plants through Gordon Dexter. 1 As 
for fruits, there had never in the Committee's memory been such 
a year, from early spring through late fall. With the most minute 
care the report gives the meteorological phenomena, as Mr. Breck 
had recommended, and then the gratifying record of a harvest so 
abundant that for once the Society's ideal of all fruit for all people 
was exceeded, and prices were so low that one farmer gave pears 
to the newsboys on State Street. Even apricots appeared again on 
the Society's tables. The glut of the market was no doubt due to 
the cutting off of the markets in Maine and the provinces because 
of the withdrawal of steamers for government purposes. The only 
possible exceptions to the rule of success were the cherries and 
the peaches. The currant crop was enormous, the apples and 
grapes good, and the pears of uncommon size, twelve Bartletts 
from Josiah Stickney weighing over nine and one-third pounds. 
The American Pomological Society added their display of apples 
and pears at the annual exhibition. The vegetables, though over- 

1 Transactions, Jan. 8, 1916, " Flowers and Gardens of Japan," Mr. Ernest H. 


shadowed by the fruits, were very encouraging, and the Commit- 
tee were glad to see their opinion of the Hubbard squash shared by 
the " American Agriculturist," in New York, which gave it a pre- 
mium at the office. The annual exhibition, held at Music Hall on 
the sixteenth and through the nineteenth of September, was thor- 
oughly successful, though not so representative in varieties of 
some fruits as had been expected. The display of pears unques- 
tionably surpassed any ever made in the Society's halls, and the 
cut flowers also helped to distinguish the exhibition as generally 
one of the best in quality ever held. Good citizens were so busy 
with patriotic occupations that there was little for the Garden 
Committee to report; but they said that their visits confirmed 
Samuel Walker's estimate of the utility of their activities in bring- 
ing the public into communication with the Society, and in thus 
diffusing rural art. Improvement was visible everywhere. They 
found that the strawberry beds of W. G. Underwood, of Belmont, 
were considered an institution by his fellow citizens, and a glance 
at other cultivators near by revealed the benefit of his example, — 
which a visit to the strawberry festival then being held at the 
Belmont hall seems to have corroborated. During a favorable sum- 
mer from three to four thousand boxes of berries per acre were 
produced. The absorbing study of the grape, still increasing, led 
them to visit also the out-of-door grapery of J. V. Wellington in 

The general policy of the Library during 1862 was to obtain 
books that would be of constant service; and to postpone the pur- 
chase of the rare and the recondite; yet since the Library ought 
to keep up to its possibilities, and botanical works were likely to 
go out of print and rise in value — one fact which Mr. Rand 
quietly observed might appeal to some of the members — the lat- 
ter could not be ignored. This sound proviso, we must note, was at 
once opposed by the lately elected President, Charles M. Hovey, 
in his inaugural address, who observed that the Society did not 
want to " bury beneath its shelves the ponderous tomes and elabo- 
rate works valuable only to the student." The reply to this came 
a year later, when E. S. Rand had retired from the chair of the 
Committee and Francis Parkman had taken his place: " To de- 
spise the aid of books is no evidence either of practical skill or good 


sense. This is particularly true of horticulture, in which the men 
of greatest practical eminence have without exception been those 
possessing the recorded knowledge of their predecessors or con- 
temporaries. Horticulture is an art based on the broad principles 
of science, and has never found its most successful cultivators 
among those who have blindly ignored those principles." The re- 
sult of Mr. Parkman's calm and paternal statement was a credit- 
able surrender on the part of Mr. Hovey, who in his address at 
the first meeting in 1864 remarked simply that the Chairman of 
the Library Committee " justly estimates the importance of this 
department of the Society"; but we shall, of course, find the 
perennial distrust of " book-learning," especially years later in the 
discussions after lectures, and especially in the case of a very suc- 
cessful and well-beloved cultivator, Varnum Frost. It is perhaps 
not out of place to remark here that the reader of the Transac- 
tions will obtain from the report of these occasional skirmishes a 
clearer idea of the fraternal spirit of the members than he could 
possibly have without them: they were family quarrels, and seem 
to have had the usual result of such. 

Mr. Breck had served efficiently as president for four years, 
and in his farewell address on the third of January, 1863, he pro- 
nounced the situation thoroughly satisfactory. The property value 
had increased to well over ninety-two thousand dollars; but of 
late the annual exhibitions had not paid, and perhaps another ex- 
hibition under a tent would help matters. He declared that the an- 
nual proceeds from Mount Auburn should be sacredly set aside to 
increase the capital available for a new hall or an experimental 
garden; an excellent site for the building had been obtained, but 
there were some difficulties in the way of purchasing. The new 
President, Charles M. Hovey, in his inaugural address, attacked 
not only the Library Committee's plans, as we have seen, but an- 
other of E. S. Rand, Jr.'s, ideas. He considered that the objects of 
the Society could in no way be better achieved than by judicious 
and liberal premiums for meritorious objects. They had been 
struck out for some new seedlings, and he strongly advocated re- 
storing them; had it not been for the offer of prizes, he believed, 
the Jenny Lind strawberry, the Dana's Hovey and Clapp's Favor- 
ite pears, the Concord grape and many superb flowers might never 



have enriched our gardens. This was the opening gun of a long 
drawn out war on the subject which can best be described as it de- 
veloped, and could by the nature of the case never in the earlier 
days be absolutely settled. Mr. Hovey went on to say that trees 
and shrubs had not received enough recognition; the azalea and 
the rhododendron, the most magnificent of hardy shrubs, were no 
more encouraged than the humblest garden flower. It is very in- 
spiring to see what a quick response came to this suggestion in 
the gift of five hundred dollars for the purpose by H. Hollis Hunne- 
well, which the President announced a year later; and still more 
so to note that Mr. Hunnewell, already interested as we have seen, 
personally took the lead in the new campaign. As for a new Horti- 
cultural Hall, the President believed that not much public respect 
could be counted upon until, as before, the Society was an Institu- 
tion, a household word, with the dignity of a suitable building of 
its own. 

The President's wishes were reflected in the premium list for the 
year, which included prizes for certain varieties of fruits and for 
variegated leaved plants. Until after the annual exhibition no par- 
ticularly good displays of flowers were made because of the dry 
weather at the beginning of the season. On May the thirtieth 
ninety-four species of fungi were exhibited by Dennis Murray, — ■ 
an interest which later was to engage the Society's close research. 
At the end of June the Hybrid Perpetual roses repeated their suc- 
cess of the year before, and during the late summer came beautiful 
displays of gladioli, the pioneers of a new exhibition feature for 
August and September. At the exhibition of the twenty-ninth of 
August appeared, instead of the tasteful basket of flowers which 
had been the usual contribution of Miss Susie D. Story, a beautiful 
memorial cross of flowers which was to many members the first 
intimation of her death; and an expression of sympathy for her 
father, their chairman, was made by the Flower Committee with 
their report. The Fruit Committee's report contained as before a 
detailed account of meteorological conditions, which had been bad 
for most fruits. Grapes were seriously rivalling pears as an object 
of interest, and this year the latter were much below the average 
both in quality and quantity. The apples failed almost entirely; 
this was the " odd " year for them, and moreover the canker- 


worm had been more troublesome than ever. Because of the dif- 
ficulty of finding a hall elsewhere, the annual exhibition was held 
in the Society's Hall, and was therefore small. The mediocrity of 
the weekly shows except in forced fruits the Committee thought 
might be due to the increasing number of local horticultural soci- 
eties, — and if so they were bound not to complain, but to emu- 
late. They believed that there were enough varieties of pears in 
existence, and that no more were wanted unless distinctly su- 
perior; but with grapes, though the advance had been great, the 
case was different; and Messrs. Strong and Spooner were busily 
experimenting to obtain that hardy grape to supply the market, 
which the former had always said could profitably be cultivated. 
At the annual exhibition over twenty varieties of grapes were 
shown. Vegetables apparently depended too much on labor, and 
labor was too scarce, for a good display during war times. The 
Committee took the opportunity to review their work for the past 
decade. There had been about two hundred contributors since 
1854, and new ones were creditably taking the place of the old. 
The Chinese sugar-cane, which had been introduced a few years 
before, was an instance of the far-reaching influence of the Soci- 
ety; for though not of great utility here, the cane had since come 
elsewhere under general cultivation. The Garden Committee had 
received no appropriation for the season, and its work was there- 
fore entirely suspended. This was no doubt because of the same 
difficulties as those which beset the Vegetable Committee. The 
Library had, as we have seen, a good champion in Francis Park- 
man. Not many foreign books were bought, because of the high 
rate of exchange; but the tax on importations had been saved by 
taking advantage of a provision of the law, and having the books 
sent in the same case with the periodicals of the Boston Athe- 
naeum, through the latter's agents. 

The site for a building referred to by President Breck in his 
farewell address in January, 1863, na d been bought on the fif- 
teenth of August. It had been stipulated that the Finance and the 
Executive Committees should buy only on Tremont or Washing- 
ton Street, and not south of Winter; and they finally settled on 
the Montgomery House estate, which extended about fifty-five 
feet on Tremont Street, and a little over a hundred and twenty 


on Bromfield Street and Montgomery Place, — an area of about 
6,300 square feet. For this the Society paid $101,000, giving a 
twenty-year five and a half per cent mortgage for $100,000. 
President Hovey, on January the second, 1864, congratulated the 
Society on this acquisition which was exactly what was wanted. 
Now arose the great question of whether to build at once. He be- 
lieved that nothing but necessity should make the Society post- 
pone building, and adduced the reasons he had given a year ago: 
the Society was second to none, and exerted an influence from the 
Atlantic to the Pacific. When the first Hall was decided upon, — 
a hazardous undertaking, for more money was required than the 
Society possessed — men were found who endowed it with the 
means. Their object was to endow an institution, not to aid an ob- 
scure society; and to them the Society now owed it to put itself 
back into the position they had placed it in. The dignity of a Hall 
of its own was patently a strong consideration in the practical 
mind of Mr. Hovey, and doubtless of other members; but in- 
creased room was another, and together they finally prevailed, as 
we shall see. As to other matters, Mr. Hovey reported that a com- 
mittee was obtaining " certificates of merit " similar to those of the 
London Societies, which would henceforth be awarded independ- 
ently of premiums, and were to be given only for the exhibition of 
new, rare and beautiful flowers, new fruits and vegetables, seed- 
lings of unusual merit, and superior skill displayed in cultiva- 
tion. The value of these of course consisted in the stamp of merit 
which by awarding them the leading institution of its kind in the 
country put upon the objects exhibited. The New Year found the 
Society united, harmonious and prosperous: " never since its or- 
ganization had a kindlier feeling prevailed.'' Adorning the room 
in which the meeting was being held was another bust, besides 
that of Lyman, this one of a living member, Marshall P. Wilder, 
given by C. 0. Whitmore, as though in consolation for Wilder's 
long continued absence through illness. During the year the loss 
by death included two men who had been members of the Coun- 
cil under the first constitution of the Society, and had done more 
for it than could be estimated: A. D. Williams and David Hag- 

The season was in 1864 again unfavorable for flowers. The 


gladiolus became, as before, the great feature of the weekly exhibi- 
tions, and at its special prize day in August a great number of seed- 
lings testified to the interest it had awakened. Francis Parkman 
was almost a constant exhibitor of herbaceous plants. Rhododen- 
drons and azaleas came in beautiful quality from the Hoveys and 
H. Hollis Hunnewell; and the rose exhibition also was well sup- 
ported by Parkman with his hybrid perpetuals. Fruit, especially 
strawberries, suffered from the dry summer. The peaches were 
good; but the Committee were alarmed at the lack of apples, and 
set forth the necessity of not abandoning this most useful of our 
fruits. There was never any lack of pears around Boston, and 
their quality was apparently perfect. D. T. Curtis showed on the 
nineteenth of November a Duchesse d'Angouleme pear from Los 
Angeles weighing four pounds and measuring seventeen and three- 
quarters inches in circumference and eight inches in diameter — 
certainly the most enormous specimen recorded at an exhibition 
up to this time. The vegetable show at the annual exhibition was, 
in spite of all handicaps, the best ever held. Early celery, flat tur- 
nips, early potatoes and cabbages had been checked by the early 
drought in June, but everything grew rapidly when the July rains 
came. Much attention had of late been paid to the tomato, and 
C. N. Brackett introduced the Cooke Favorite. Miss Lucy H. 
Brewer, a little girl of ten, exhibited 102 varieties of beans; and 
Bowen Harrington's mammoth 133 -pound squash from Lexing- 
ton won the silver medal. A sad event at the annual exhibition was 
the sudden illness of Dennis Murray, which resulted in his death 
the following day. We remember that it was he who was awaken- 
ing the interest in fungi. 

There was not one application for a visit of the Garden Com- 
mittee during 1864, but the report by \V. R. Austin to that effect 
is far from uninteresting nevertheless. It had been said, — and 
he feared with some truth — that the Committee had degenerated 
into an eating and drinking one. If so, possibly the public was to 
blame: if gentlemen insisted, it was uncivil to decline their hospi- 
tality. At all events, it had become the custom to feast the Com- 
mittee, and a man who wanted them to visit him had to consider 
the cost of regaling them, — not a very considerable matter at the 
old prices before the war, but now a great tax. No doubt this ac- 


counted for the lack of applications; but so also did the fact that 
the rounds had been made over and over, and had become an old 
story. Perhaps the Committee had done all the good it could do at 
present, — certainly the improvements everywhere were wonder- 
ful — and considering the erroneous idea that they expected and 
craved refreshments, it might be well after a year's trial to sus- 
pend or abolish the Committee. This suggestion we are glad to 
find was not adopted, and it was not until 1880 that they again 
failed to be appreciated. The brief Library report stated that be- 
cause of the high rate of exchange no foreign books had been 
bought; but lists had been made for the future, and several fine 
American ones had been obtained. 

But the great event of the year 1864 was the laying of the 
corner stone of the new Hall on the eighteenth of August. The dif- 
ficulties in persuading some of the members of the Society that so 
large a debt could properly be incurred had, as we have seen, been 
nearly insuperable, and probably even the ring of confidence in 
President Hovey's words would not have sufficed if it had not been 
for the faith of Charles 0. Whitmore, of the Finance Committee. 
Marshall P. Wilder, in his address at the semi-centennial anniver- 
sary, is witness that to " our indomitable and immutable friend 
C. 0. Whitmore " was due the removal of the mountain of objec- 
tions. The decision to go ahead was reached; and at nine o'clock 
on the morning of the eighteenth of August the members of the So- 
ciety and the guests invited to the ceremony assembled at the 
rooms in Amory Hall. There a procession was formed under the 
marshalship of Samuel Hatch: first a detachment of police, the 
Chief Marshal, and the band; then in order the President and 
the Chaplain; the Mayor and members of the City government; 
the Building Committee; stewards bearing the boxes and docu- 
ments for deposit beneath the stone; the architects, — Gridley 
J. F. Bryant and Arthur Gilman; the past officers of the Society; 
members of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics' Associa- 
tion; the Natural History Society; the trustees of Mount Auburn; 
members of the Massachusetts Historical Society; the Institute 
of Technology; the trustees of the Public Library; members of the 
Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture; the Boston 
Numismatic Society; and the members of the Horticultural Soci- 


ety. The procession moved up West Street to the site of the new 
building, and formed upon a temporary platform, upon which 
stood a raised dais for the President, the Chaplain and the invited 
guests. After music by the band, President Hovey delivered an 
address in which he proclaimed that the objects of the Society 
were what they were at the beginning. It was now twenty years 
since the corner stone for the first building had been laid by Mar- 
shall P. Wilder, who was prevented by long-continued illness from 
taking part in the ceremonies of today. Mr. Hovey reminded the 
assembly of the debt owed to the Founders, particularly General 
Dearborn, and also spoke gratefully of later benefactors: Samuel 
Appleton; John A. Lowell, who, unable to cooperate actively, had 
sent one thousand dollars; Theodore Lyman, Jr., who had added 
ten thousand dollars to a previous gift; Josiah Bradlee; B. V. 
French; and lately H. Hollis Hunnewell, now in Europe, who had 
just added two thousand dollars to the previous gift of five hun- 
dred for special purposes. Realizing that not money alone could 
have made the Society second to none of its kind in the world, 
Mr. Hovey cited as zealous cooperators worthy of grateful re- 
membrance, Cook, Downer, Lowell, Manning, Kenrick, Winship, 
Perkins, Prince, Phinney, Cushing, Vose, Walker, Lovett, Harris, 
Teschemacher, Haggerston, and Williams, and commended the 
faithful efforts of others like them among the living. He then pro- 
ceeded to lay the corner stone, using a burnished steel trowel pre- 
sented to him for the occasion. An appropriate prayer was offered 
by the Chaplain, Dr. Lothrop; the whole assembly joined in the 
singing of Old Hundred; and the Benediction closed the exercises. 
In the twelve by ten by four inch zinc box placed beneath the stone 
were the following objects: an engraved silver plate, eight inches 
by six in size, which stated that the edifice was erected by the So- 
ciety, and defined its purpose, and which contained the date of the 
laying of the stone, the names of the Building Committee, the 
officers and the architects, the date of incorporation, the present 
number of members, — 680, — and the statement that the com- 
munity owed the foundation of Mount Auburn to the Society; 
the Proceedings of the Society from 1843 t0 1864; the Society's 
publications; a Boston Almanac for 1864; the Catalogue of the 
Proprietors of Mount Auburn; copies of Hovey 's Magazine of 


Horticulture containing the reports of the Building Committee; a 
copy of the " Fruits of America "; Boston newspapers of August 
the eighteenth; the silver and the bronze medal of the Society, 
and the Appleton bronze medal ; and coins of the United States, — 
the dollar, the half-dollar and smaller — of the date of 1864. 
Beneath this box was placed with its contents entire the box taken 
from beneath the corner stone of the old Hall in School Street, 
and both were deposited in a cavity in the first vermiculated stone 
at the northwest corner of the building, on Tremont Street and 
Montgomery Place. 

The Society's property in January, 1865, was estimated at 
$2 14,736.88, and its only considerable debt $100,000, — six notes, 
all dated September the first, 1863, and payable in twenty years at 
five and a half per cent with semi-annual payments. This meant 
that over $100,000 was available for the new building. Mount 
Auburn had yielded $7500 — much more than was estimated — 
and the membership had increased by 142, making 704 in all. 
The Building Committee in their report of February the sixth, 

1864, was accordingly justified in calculating that $3500 of the 
Mount Auburn money could easily be laid aside as a sinking fund 
to meet payments and the liabilities in 1883 — such a plan would 
yield $98,745, counting the interest, in sixteen years. The cost of 
the building was estimated at about $102,500; the Society's stocks 
had greatly appreciated in value since 1862 ; and the income from 
the new building could be counted on as fully six per cent of the 
cost. Mr. Hovey prophesied in his annual address in January, 

1865, that the Society would probably obtain all its own accom- 
modation free of expense: the corner store on Bromfield Street 
had already been leased, and several applications had been re- 
ceived for the others. Moreover the value of rents was delight- 
fully high, and the architect', Mr. Bryant, predicted that the build- 
ing would be completed by the first of July. No more substantial 
structure had ever been erected in the city, and President Hovey 
expressed the belief that there was as much space in it as the So- 
ciety would ever need! Gifts could be expected: during the past 
year was amongst others one of ninety-seven shares of railroad 
stocks from Dr. William J. Walker of Newport, Rhode Island, for 
the encouragement of culinary vegetables. All the prophecies 


above were close enough to the mark except Mr. Bryant's and 
that of Mr. Hovey in regard to necessary space. The flowers of 
autumn were to blossom and the fruits and vegetables ripen be- 
fore the Hall could be called ready, and we may return to their 
precursors while it is building. 

The earlier shows of the year brought out less competition than 
the Flower Committee could readily explain. President Hovey's 
suggestion of generous premiums had been followed, but neither 
amateur nor dealer seemed tempted, and the apparent result was 
diminished attendance. The winter and spring had been favorable, 
and the exhibitions good; but except for the Bougainvillia shown 
in March by Mrs. T. W. Ward, no especially interesting novelty 
appeared. The Committee took some comfort from the apparent 
proof that it was not primarily premiums that were stimulating; 
and they began to suspect that people did not know enough about 
the free weekly shows, and that advertising was necessary, — 
though also members themselves and their families had shown less 
interest than usual. July and August were so dry that no further 
explanation was needed until the annual exhibition in the new 
building, where weekly shows also were held in one of the stores 
after the end of August. The fruits of course suffered from the 
drought. The strawberries had been well shown — one of them 
being the Agriculturalist, exhibited for the first time — but were 
not plentiful; Hovey's seedling continued to hold the lead. Cherry 
cultivation had been all but abandoned, and complaints continued 
to be bitter against the robin whose credentials were again ques- 
tioned by the harassed cultivator of cherries and strawberries. 
Raspberry culture was diminishing, blackberries not extending, 
plums were unprofitable because of the curculio. However, once 
again the peaches were magnificent, luscious and numerous, and 
pears were excellent — Dana's Hovey taking the prospective prize 
for a five-year trial. But most engrossing of all were the grapes, 
for which enthusiasm was undiminished: one grower had thirty 
thousand seedlings from good varieties which he intended to fruit 
and to test. The Committee saw the time coming when our hillsides 
would be covered with vineyards, and even speculated on what to 
do with the surplus. The apple crop was nearly a failure,, largely on 
account of the canker-worm and the caterpillar, and the Commit- 


tee took occasion to reprimand those who so neglected old trees 
that they became breeding-places for these vermin. Pears — in 
which the Hoveys and M. P. Wilder were leaders — had fewer 
enemies than most fruits; and F. Dana was warmly commended 
for the number of fine varieties he had given to the world. His 
method was to sow the seeds of the best, a successful procedure 
which damaged the Van Mons theory — it had been contested 
before — of starting with the small, wild button pear and working 
up through successive generations; for there seemed to be no 
Van Mons pear that could equal the Dana's Hovey and others 
Dana had raised. The Vegetable Department reported its annual 
exhibition as the best that had ever been held. The Garden Com- 
mittee made four visits during the season, one of them to the 
famous Lord Dexter place in Newburyport — now called the 
" Evergreens," and owned by Dr. E. G. Kelley. They had ex- 
plained in advance to the Doctor that they were not an " eating 
and drinking committee," and that no gastronomic responsibili- 
ties devolved upon him; but when they got there dinner was ready, 
and moreover there were ladies present " who always give a charm 
and grace to every such occasion." Having " dispatched the meal 
with as much haste as etiquette and social converse would allow," 
they were taken about the grounds by the Doctor, who had been 
out mowing that morning at four o'clock. Here they were very 
favorably impressed with the trees, well-kept evergreen hedges, 
beds of Jenny Lind strawberries, farm, artificial pond bordered 
with shrubs, and glass houses; and although unable to commend 
the Doctor's practice of growing pear trees in grass ground, they 
awarded him a prize for industry and skill in the trimming and 
management of the evergreen hedges and for economy of culture 
in garden and grounds. They visited on the last day of August 
fruit gardens in Cambridge, and again the Hoveys' nursery; and 
were again unable to dodge " refreshments," this time provided by 
John C. Hovey, which though " unexpected, were none the less 
acceptable after a tramp in the hot sun." With this report W. R. 
Austin retired from the chairmanship of the Committee, and 
congratulated the Society upon the election of H. Hollis Hunne- 
well, as well known for his love of horticulture as for his gener- 


The Library moved into its new quarters without accident, but 
was obliged to spend half its appropriation for furnishing the 
room, leaving $250 for important books, periodicals, and news- 
papers. Francis Parkman continued his quiet, forcible insistence 
upon the part that books must play in the advance of horticulture; 
and if his assertion that the " Library may be said to bear to this 
noble building the relation which the brain bears to the body " 
may not have been self-evident or flattering to every cultivator, 
we should find difficulty in quarrelling with it today. But it is time 
that we visited the " noble building." 

It was of Concord white granite. The illustration shows the 
three general divisions of the fifty-five-foot front, the central one 
decorated with coupled columns, repeated in pilasters behind and 
carried through the three stones, Doric in the lowest, Ionic in the 
second, and Corinthian in the third. A rich cornice topped the 
whole facade, surmounted by a central attic which served as a 
pedestal for a great figure of Ceres, cut in white granite, and 
copied from the celebrated statue in the Vatican. Projecting piers 
at the angles of the front of the building formed at the top of the 
entrance story bases for two other figures, Pomona and Flora, the 
latter copied from the Flora Farnese at Naples. The style was that 
generally adopted for such public buildings in Europe, and espe- 
cially in France; and the material had been chosen because of its 
evident good qualities of wear and appearance as proved after 
half a century in the house of David Sears, on Beacon Street. The 
best recent example of its use was the new City Hall. The statues 
were not put in their places until the following year. That of 
Ceres was given by B. P. Cheney, Flora by H. Hollis Hunnewell, 
and Pomona by C. O. Whitmore; and Turner Sargent remarks on 
the " heroic beauty of the Cyclopic Ceres, the playful graceful- 
ness of the Flora, and the matronly dignity of the Pomona. Only 
a few months since, the mighty boulder that had been sleeping 
amidst the granite hills of New Hampshire since the creation of 
the world, was touched by the Ithuriel spear of art, and developed 
into these embodiments of the good, the useful and the beautiful." 
The spear was in this instance handled by Martin Milmore. For 
detailed information about the interior of the building we must 
often go to Robert Manning, the careful historian who was person- 

The Second Horticultural Hall, Tremont Street 


ally familiar with it during all the years of its use by the Society. 2 
The street story included five stores, two on Tremont Street and 
three on Bromfield, two of the latter running through to Mont- 
gomery Place, and the third smaller to allow a back staircase from 
the basement to the loft. There was a cellar under each store, ex- 
tending beneath the sidewalks, in which Hyatt lights were placed; 
one of these was occupied by the engine, boiler and fuel. The 
front entrance on Tremont Street led by wide marble steps be- 
tween the two front stores to a large vestibule on the second story. 
From this led the entrance to the smaller hall. On the right side of 
this door was a marble tablet with the names of those who were 
active in the construction of the building, and on the left a memo- 
rial tablet to the founding of Mount Auburn. The smaller hall 
was seventeen feet high, and fifty by fifty-seven feet in size, exclu- 
sive of the large recessed stage occupying the space between the 
rear staircase and an anteroom. It was finished with Ionic pil- 
asters, which sustained the beams by which the ceiling was divided 
into panelled compartments. To correspond with the ceiling the 
walls also were suitably panelled, and were dadoed from the floor to 
the window-sills. As time went on the hall was ornamented with 
portraits and busts of founders, members and benefactors. The 
bust of C. 0. Whitmore, by Milmore, was received from the Mas- 
sachusetts Agricultural Club in January, 1869; a portrait of 
Cheever Newhall was given by the same Club in September of the 
same year; a portrait of Samuel Downer was received from his 
son on the twelfth of November, 1870; portraits of John B. Rus- 
sell and William Kenrick were received on the fourth of March, 
1871; and on January the sixth, 1872, a marble bust of John 
Lowell, by Brackett, was given by a few men who wished to show 
their appreciation of his efforts for the Society. A portrait of Ben- 
jamin V. French was given by his nephew of the same name; one 
of Aaron D. Williams by his son; and those of Joseph H. Billings, 
Aaron D. Weld, Benjamin P. Cheney and Edwin W. Buswell were 
given by their friends. A bust of Josiah Stickney was given by 
C. O. Whitmore, and one of Amos Lawrence by his son. We re- 
member that the Society had already procured one of Theodore 

2 Manning, History, p. 177 ff. 


From the vestibule led a door to the pleasant Library, which ex- 
tended across the whole front of the building. From its three win- 
dows was an outlook upon the Granary Burying Ground, with the 
Park Street Church on the left and the Tremont House on the 
right. Over the Athenaeum building, when the trees were bare, 
could be seen the dome of the State House. The room was about 
fifty feet by twenty, with a window also at each end; and the 
northern end could be shut off by folding doors into a room for the 
Fruit Committee. Under the stairs to the upper hall were two 
small rooms opening into both the Library and the vestibule. The 
southern of these was used by the Flower Committee. The ascent 
to the Upper Hall was by a broad flight of stairs on each side 
of the building. This great hall occupied the whole of the third 
floor, and like the Lower Hall had a rear entrance and accommo- 
dations for exhibitors. The stage occupied the same relative posi- 
tion as that of the one in the hall below; exclusive of it the dimen- 
sions were ninety-six feet by fifty, and twenty-six in height. The 
graceful coved ceiling of the hall rested on a deep Ionic cornice, 
with modillions carried by pilasters enriched with Arabesque fes- 
toons modelled in high relief. The walls were dadoed to the 
window-sills like those of the Lower Hall, and the doorways to the 
anterooms and stairways were ornamented with rich architraves 
with pedimented heads. The panels between the cross-beams on 
the ceiling were ornamented with bold mouldings and with drops 
at the intersections. Over the head of the stairway in each front 
corner of the building was a gallery which at first ran across the 
end of the hall; but in 1871 the central portion was removed. 
These were supported by Doric pilasters crowned with a cornice 
and parapet, and were reached by stairs from the landings be- 
neath. Between the pilasters on the sides of the hall were large 
mirrors, over which were hung the portraits of the presidents of 
the Society. In 1876 a full-length portrait by Ordway of Dr. Jacob 
Bigelow was placed in the hall. The w r alls, pilasters and mouldings 
were delicately tinted, and the stage recess richly decorated in 
fresco and with garlands of flowers and vases of fruit; and when 
lighted up in the evening the hall presented a rich and attractive 

The ceremony of dedication — a doubly thankful one because 


of the end of the war — took place on the sixteenth of September. 
After an absence through illness of nearly two years, Marshall P. 
Wilder was once more present, and was most heartily and affec- 
tionately greeted. We need not follow President Hovey's able and 
interesting sketch of the history of the Society, but may note the 
generosity of his words, at this particular moment, towards Eng- 
lish cultivators: " Though we may look with sincere regret upon 
the course which England has pursued towards us as a nation, 
and more particularly in her recent attitude while our efforts were 
directed to the preservation of our Union, we cannot, as cultiva- 
tors, withhold our admiration of the illustrious men whose dis- 
interested labors have done so much to accelerate our advance in 
every department of rural industry. With Milton as the herald, 
with Addison and Pope as champions, with Walpole and Shen- 
stone as aids, and Mason, Whately, Price, Knight and Gilpin as 
promoters of landscape art, England became the garden of the 
world. With the scantiest indigenous flora, she now has every- 
thing." He ended with the statement that the number of plants 
and trees introduced into England from 1800 to 1835 was 699, 
of which 528 were natives of America; and asked how long it 
would be before our planters would stop introducing foreign trees 
to the neglect of our own, the pride and boast of every English 
garden. The prayer by the Reverend F. D. Huntington, a song 
written for the occasion, music by the band, and the Benediction 
completed the simple dedicatory exercises. 

We can now picture the great hall in which from the nineteenth 
through the twenty-second of September was held the annual ex- 
hibition of 1865. Robert Manning again provides us with many of 
the details of arrangement. Three tables ran its whole length, the 
central one devoted to variegated leaved plants intermixed with 
tropical, and the others to pears. On each side was a table for cut 
flowers. Two tables on the stage held flowering plants, and be- 
gonias and ferns. In front of these a semicircular table was cov- 
ered with bouquets as a background to an exhibit of peaches and 
pears. The anterooms contained fruit tables. The Lower Hall had 
five tables, the central one covered with apples and grapes, and the 
other four with vegetables, while great cockscombs and potted 
coniferous and other plants occupied the stage. At each side of the 


top of the vestibule stairs outside stood an Araucaria imbricata, 
ten feet high, contributed by H. Hollis Hunnewell. We have al- 
ready reviewed the year's exhibitions. At the annual show the 
plants were magnificent, and included large contributions from 
the Cambridge Botanic Garden, the Hoveys, and Francis Park- 
man. The Governor of Rhode Island, William Sprague, sent six 
pineapple plants showing the fruit from inflorescence to maturity. 
The pears were the greatest display among the fruits, as they 
were at the other exhibitions; but grapes were not what might 
have been expected, and apples were deficient. The attendance at 
the exhibition naturally was very large, and brought a comfortable 
margin of profit. 

Thus ends what Marshall P. Wilder later called the second era 
in the Society's history, — the era of selection. From the extensive 
collecting of fruit and flowers which had occupied the earlier en- 
thusiasts there resulted a mass of material from which, as we have 
seen, the better kinds were by public exhibition and criticism made 
known and popularized. By no other method could a just verdict 
have been reached ; and by no other organization could the method 
possibly have been developed into its practical effectiveness for 
the end in view. But more valuable for the future than the work 
they had done — and the seeds of this fell everywhere — was the 
solid company of men who as the years went by became more and 
more responsible for the destinies of New England and even of 
American horticulture. The new building was beautiful; but the 
Society was not built of stone and mortar. 

Chapter IX • 1 866-1 8 70. PROGRESS 

PRESIDENT HOVEY'S address on the sixth of January, 
1 866, naturally vibrated with the joy of victory and accom- 
plishment. The Society had returned to the " place it had 
so long occupied " — figuratively speaking — and he was not 
willing to believe that there could be so little intelligence, taste 
and liberality in the community as the Flower Committee had 
seemed to fear. The first large exhibition in the new Hall gave 
promise that the Society had seen the last of exhibitions which did 
not pay; the halls let readily, being the most convenient in the 
city; and by a gain of 225 during the year, the total membership 
was now 914. Always persuaded of the importance played in the 
Society's work by the premium list, Mr. Hovey could find no fault 
at present with anything but the necessity of waiting so long for 
the awarding of prizes for seedlings : it seemed unjust that the pro- 
ducer of a new variety should have to wait for years for the stamp 
of the Society's approval. He recommended that prizes should be 
augmented as fast as possible; the time was past when contribu- 
tors could be expected to bring their best specimens without hope 
of honor or reward. The production of a new flower, fruit or vege- 
table, he believed, should be rewarded by a gold medal, just as 
were the tone of a new piano, the extra finish on broadcloth, or 
fine specimens of diamond-cutting. 

The weekly shows, accounts of which were now published in an 
evening paper, were in 1866 changed from Saturday to Wednes- 
day; but habit had become so strong that they were soon changed 
back again. An entrance fee was established for the rose show. 
Interest was increasing among the ladies, with the incidental result 
that correct taste began to be more evident in the displays. Arti- 
ficial hybridization was producing glorious results, and America 
was now quite independent of France in the culture of the 
gladiolus and other flowers. It was this year that Sewall Fisher 
began in Framingham the culture of carnations which led to their 


improvement by cross-breeding. On the fifteenth of August ap- 
peared a deep rose-colored pond-lily, from Hyannis; and a lady 
in Rochester, New Hampshire, who had read the account of it, 
sent some of various shades from pure white to deep rose, whose 
variation the Committee was at a loss to account for: the roots 
of the lilies had been taken from a river in which none but white 
had ever been seen. Among plants shown for the first time was the 
Deutzia crenata flore pleno, by James McTear. Aquilegia glan- 
dulosa was shown by Francis Parkman, who also, on the eleventh 
of July, exhibited Clematis Jackmanni, of which so many varie- 
ties were afterwards produced. Of fruits — for which in quality 
at least, if not in size, the warm, rainy summer was in general 
unfavorable — the cherries and small fruits, peaches, apples and 
grapes were unsatisfactory; but in the very report which asks 
" What can we do to awaken better interest in the strawberry? " 
the President Wilder is mentioned for the first time. The apple 
crop was a greater failure than ever, probably because of the pre- 
ceding two years of drought. Pears were good; forty-five seedlings 
were fruited by Dr. S. A. Shurtleff; and Mr. Dana was again 
praised for his success with new varieties, particularly the Dana's 
Hovey. Marked improvement was evident in the vegetables, 
among which Keye's Early Prolific tomato drew great interest 
Special prizes of silver cups for cauliflowers brought excellent col- 
lections from eight competitors, of whom the winner was James 
H. Smith. The Garden Committee's three invitations during the 
year were all from the City of Boston. The Mayor and other 
members of the City Government accompanied the Committee 
in September on a visit to the Public Garden, which a few years 
before had been an " offensive marsh." Commending the evident 
care and interest in its development, the Committee nevertheless 
saw lack of skill in the original plan: " instead of studying effects, 
opening vistas, creating a sense of extent and magnificent dis- 
tances, in contrast, at the next turn, with some sudden surprise 
of quiet beauty; instead of grouping the plants in harmony in 
order to produce distinct impressions; instead of skilful design, 
we found unmeaning mixedness in every part. Effects are spoiled 
by some impertinent obstruction of the vision, or frittered away 
by lack of harmony and distinctness." The officers of the City 


took this sweeping criticism to their profit, as it was meant. The 
Committee made a preliminary visit to Mount Hope, which they 
found creditable, and to the Deer Island House of Industry, where 
they found a perfect example of the importance of manure — in 
this case largely sea-kelp — for the cultivation of vegetables. 

Under Francis Parkman's eye the Library greatly increased its 
usefulness in 1866. Forty-seven new volumes were added — a 
small increase in number, but many of them were of the quality 
and workmanship which horticultural works above all others re- 
quire in order to be of real value. Besides these, eleven donations 
were received, and twenty-f our periodicals were taken, — nine of 
them English, three French, and twelve American; but the cri- 
terion of usefulness is the circulation of books, and that had 
increased by one-third over 1865. Rates of exchange were, of 
course, reduced, and the Committee now planned to get several 
of the long-needed works from abroad. By a new ruling books 
might be taken out at any time during the business hours of the 
day; and perhaps best of all, every member was to receive a copy 
of a new catalogue. 

The first report of income from the new building was, of course, 
peculiarly interesting; and it proved gratifying. The receipts from 
the stores was $11,450; from the halls $5235.50; and from ad- 
mission and assessments, $2575.93; $873540 more was received 
from Mount Auburn. The necessary furnishings, insurance and 
other items increased the costs, but these were not likely to occur 
soon again. President Hovey in his valedictory address on the fifth 
of January, 1867, was able to say that the Society's Hall com- 
pared favorably with any similar edifice in the United States, and 
he could see nothing ahead but prosperity. He pointed to the 
rapidity of the advance in every branch of industry and material 
wealth in the Country, and warned his hearers not to allow ma- 
terial wants and objects to absorb the finer aesthetic tastes. He 
saw the genuine love of the country diminishing, for the outlet 
for wealth was in the city; and he called upon the Society to let 
liberal wealth and cultivated taste take the place of sordid aims 
and gross desires. With a final exhortation to help towards this 
by providing proper premiums, he gave way to his lately elected 
successor, J. F. C. Hyde. Mr. Hyde commented briefly on the 


bright prospect, which was enhanced by the harmony among the 
members, and prophesied that the oldest among them would see 
the Society clear of debt. 

The season of 1867, after a steady winter of much snow but no 
extraordinarily low temperature, was most favorable for flowers. 
The weekly displays were good, though small, perhaps because 
the rain seemed to come always on Saturday, — on which day 
they were again held. The third annual rose show, on June the 
twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth, filled both halls, and the great 
annual exhibition was " crowded for lack of space." Many new 
plants were exhibited, — the seedling Iris Kaempferi by the 
Hoveys, the Marechal Niel rose, Aquilegia coerulea, two new 
seedling delphiniums from Francis Parkman, two seedling tree 
peonies, double Persian ranunculuses from President Hyde, 
Cypripedium spectabilis from E. S. Rand, Jr., and others. The 
Fruit Committee were compelled to take up arms against one 
Sargent, who after two years of travel had stated that with the 
exception of Northern Europe, America was the worst fruit- 
growing country in the world. They delved into the history of the 
past forty years, and found that while items varied, fruits had 
always filled the tables, and total failure had been rarer than per- 
fection. Nature had never abandoned her eternal policy of com- 
pensation; and there was always a plentiful supply of some fruits. 
More interesting than general statements are the beginnings of 
formal investigations and records of the weather conditions which 
the committees had faithfully continued. R. T. Paine had for 
forty years kept a careful account of rain precipitation in Boston. 
His figure for the year was nearly fifty inches, which meant too 
little dryness for the highest quality in fruit, and trouble especially 
for grapes. The favorable opinion last year of M. P. Wilder's 
seedling strawberries, a cross between La Constante and Hovey's 
Seedling, was now confirmed. Cherries were not extensively 
shown; berries were up to the mark, with the Dorchester black- 
berry still a leader; but the plum had become virtually an aban- 
doned fruit because of its old enemy, the curculio. The pears were 
big and abundant, but rather tasteless because they had not had 
enough of the sun; and the grapes — even the Concord — were 
badly affected by mildew both of fruit and foliage. A grape called 


the Main, so closely resembling the Concord as to excite the sus- 
picions of the Committee, had been sold in the market, and they 
did not hesitate to say at once that a gross outrage on the public 
was being perpetrated. A year later they announced that there 
was no doubt of the identity of the two. A visit in January to the 
fruit house of N. E. Converse in Maiden is a sign of the coming 
partial declaration of independence of weather conditions. The 
verdict was that there was no doubt of the practical value of 
such houses if good judgment in selecting varieties was used, 
but that the law of the market was great profit in early fruit, 
and small in late varieties, since the latter had to meet a satiated 
appetite. In early vegetables under glass, also, interest was rising, 
though a good deal of skill and scientific knowledge was neces- 
sary for success. The results of the weather were in the vege- 
table department the opposite of those in the fruit; quality was 
better than quantity in the exhibitions. Several of the new varie- 
ties of tomatoes were very promising; the early Goodrich potato, 
productive and sound, was proving its value, and the Harrison, 
another of Goodrich's, was a great acquisition. The Garden Com- 
mittee visited Mount Hope again, and were charmed with the 
taste shown in landscape gardening — a very difficult matter in 
a cemetery, where the owners of the lots erect all sorts of hideous 
objects beyond the control of the superintendent, — and they 
suggested that the deeds of lots ought to provide that ornamen- 
tation should be subject to competent approval. On the twenty- 
eighth of August they again visited the Evergreens, Dr. E. G. 
Kelley's Newburyport estate, — where " enthusiasm and hos- 
pitality were unabated " — and warmly commended the perfect 
care shown by the condition of the sixteen acres; though they 
could not approve of the " evergreens clipped into peculiar 
forms." Perhaps the shade of the famous Lord Timothy had not 
been fully exorcised; or perhaps the Committee was anticipating 
any possible recrudescence of by-gone horrors. 

The Library now had a catalogue brought up to the spring 
of 1867, an d the books had been more conveniently arranged. 
Somebody had always been in attendance for the nine months 
during which the room was open, and the circulation was 532 
volumes, fifty-one better than the previous year. The character 


of the hooks used was chiefly popular and elementary; and 
members were requested to leave with the superintendent the 
name of any book they might want which was not in the cata- 
logue. Nearly five hundred dollars \va> -pent, BOme of it for 
binding; and the Transcript and the Advertiser continued 
generously to send in their daily issues. The real strength and 
value of the Library as an auxiliary to the Society's practical 
activities may without disparagement to the earlier committee- 
be said to have been first boldly championed by E. S. Rand. Jr.. 
and then largely developed by the interest and penetration of 
Francis Parkman. 

The financial situation in January, 1868, was increasingly 
promising, and E. W. Buswell, the Treasurer, was again warmly 
commended. At this time the fee for life membership was thirty 
dollars, and that for annual membership ten dollars upon admis- 
sion and two dollars thereafter; the membership was nearly a 
thousand, and President Hyde urged further recruiting. With the 
announcement of a larger sum than ever before for prizes and 
gratuities, he advocated continually increasing premiums, and 
suggested that it was time to begin to think of the mortgage debt. 

A year so unfavorable to flowers as 1868 had seldom been 
known: the spring was cold and rainy, July and half of August 
were extremely dry; there was a heavy frost on the eighteenth of 
September, a snow-storm and a black frost killed even the chrys- 
anthemums, due for their first special show, on the seventeenth 
of October; and there was no trace of an Indian summer. Yet the 
exhibitions were faithfully made — $1685 was awarded in prizes 
for flowers — and showed little evidence of the adverse condi- 
tions: the practised cultivators' independence of weather, lately 
prophesied, seemed to be coming true. A large number of new 
plants were introduced, and several curious exhibits shown, among 
the latter a collection of California cones, one of pressed California 
wild flowers and of Sandwich Island ferns and flowers, and on the 
eighth of August a large collection of everlasting flowers and 
fibrous plants by the Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society. 
From the fibrous plants were obtained substances of value to 
manufacturers of paper, twine, cordage, and coarse brushes — 
certainly a literal fulfilment of the Society's early purpose of " the 


introduction of new varieties of esculent, medicinal, and all such 
vegetables as are useful in the arts or are subservient to other 
branches of national industry." With fruits, too, it seemed demon- 
strated, as the Committee remarked two years later, that though 
it was impossible to make the seasons, the cultivator could so 
study and imitate the conditions of success as to be almost inde- 
pendent of the varying weather. Some of the older strawberries 
were eliminating themselves from such company as M. P. Wilder 's 
seedling, which the Committee now officially named the President 
Wilder. The apple crop was good, but the interest in apples was 
dwindling: the returns from an investment of care and money in 
orchards were necessarily so long in coming that the Committee 
asked whether the State ought not in some manner to encourage 
their cultivation. The Williams was the first choice for summer, 
the Gravenstein for fall, and the Northern Spy for winter. The 
season was again very unfavorable to grapes, yet the display of 
them was good. The Concord, of course, was maintaining its lead, 
and we are told that the regular price of this variety at wholesale 
was twelve dollars per hundred pounds. In the vegetable depart- 
ment a good deal of interest had been awakened by Goodrich's 
potatoes, which were the result of fifteen years of patient work. 
Goodrich had lately died; but Albert Bresee, of Hubbardton, 
Vermont, was a worthy successor, and on the last day of June he 
exhibited the Early Rose potato, which won a silver medal and at 
once came into popular favor. The General Grant tomato, which 
had originated some years before in an amateur's garden, was 
awarded first prize at two successive annual exhibitions. In general 
the vegetable display at the great show in September was one of 
the most creditable ever held. The Committee awarded $509 in 
prizes and gratuities for the year. The fortieth annual exhibition 
was well provided with splendid plants, including a large number of 
novelties from the Hoveys and H. Hollis Hunnewell. The Garden 
Committee had a busy season. The Chairmen of the Fruit, the 
Flower, and the Vegetable Committees were by a wise provision 
ex officio members of it, and the efficiency of the body was conse- 
quently very broad. After again examining Mount Hope, they vis- 
ited the two-hundred-acre estate of Edward S. Rand, Jr., in Ded- 
ham, which was this year entered for the prospective Hunnewell 


prize of one hundred and sixty dollars to be granted at the end of 
three years for embellishing and improving grounds. There they 
found superb rhododendrons and kalmias, beautiful lilies, an un- 
equalled collection of native plants, — and great hospitality. At the 
grounds at Nonantum Hill of W. C. Strong, who had always 
cherished the idea of an experimental garden, they found much ex- 
perimentation in horticulture, and a willingness which drew their 
praise to make careful and impartial statements of his results. At 
another excellent place, Briar Stone, they reported a " most 
sumptuous repast, during a thunder-storm, with an abundance of 
liquid grape to quench the lightning," whatever that may mean. 
At Forest Hills they looked with reverence on the modest marble 
monument of Thaddeus Clapp, which bore on its face in bold 
relief a perfect model of Clapp's Favorite pear — that fruit 
which was regarded as the best of the late summer precursors of 
the Bartlett. At Marshall P. Wilder's estate in Dorchester were 
Japan lilies, with the border plant Alternanthera amabilia intro- 
duced hereabouts by Wilder, and they were privileged to see the 
original tree of the Abby Wilder camellia, ten feet high, and still 
yielding its beautiful blooms. Several other places were visited; 
and the Committee called attention to the large prizes offered by 
H. Hollis Hunnewell, from forty dollars to a hundred and sixty, 
for " grounds laid out with the most taste, planted most judiciously, 
and kept in the best order for three successive years." These 
prizes gave a definition and a lasting stimulus to ornamental hor- 
ticulture in New England which it would be hard to overestimate. 
Edward S. Rand, Jr., again became chairman of the Library 
Committee for 1868; and in view of his absence abroad with his 
father the following year, his report may be taken as an effort 
to make the Society realize its duties and opportunities in the 
matter of acquiring all the best books in the world on horticul- 
ture, and to prepare the members for a large appropriation. He 
carefully showed that such books were not only indispensable, 
but were actually a very good financial investment: only small 
editions were printed, often just enough for subscribers; he could 
show books bought only a few years ago which had quintupled in 
value, — and some could not now be had at any price. The 
Society's aim should be to have a copy of every published work 


on horticulture, he maintained; a century hence the Library 
might not be complete, but — the collection was not for today 
alone, but for future ages. In begging for more money asa" con- 
tingent fund," he explained that opportunities for purchasing 
rare or valuable books at low prices sometimes occurred, and 
that unless they were seized at once they were lost. With Rand 
and Parkman working together we need not wonder that the 
Library was soon to become one of the finest in the world; and 
its treasures as exhibited by Miss D. St. J. Manks at the cen- 
tennial sixty years later satisfactorily proved Rand's contention 
that books may be a most excellent investment. 

In January, 1869, eighty-five hundred dollars more of the 
floating debt had been paid. The list of members was not much 
larger, for the Finance Committee had been obliged to part with 
twenty-five members regarded as "hopeless cases"; but thus 
" dead weight had been exchanged for live material, and the 
Society was the healthier therefor." They urged all to come in 
and fill the photograph album, in which there was still some 
space. President Hyde congratulated the Society on having met 
that true test of the skilful cultivator, good results under bad 
conditions. The prizes were again to be increased; and he be- 
lieved that as they became larger the exhibitions would at least 
pay the expense of exhibiting — which was not the case now. 
He suggested that more generosity like Mr. Hunnewell's would 
be very welcome. He was silent on the subject of the Library. 

The season of 1869 was very favorable for flowers. In the 
large number of novelties shown, the exhibitions bore witness 
to the increasing attention given to artificial hybridization, in 
which foreign countries had been allowed to take precedence. 
Rhododendrons by E. S. Rand, Jr., native flowers by E. H. 
Hitchings, and especially orchids from many exhibitors were 
excellently shown. The exhibition on the sixteenth and seven- 
teenth of June caught the visitors who were in town for the 
Peace Jubilee, and the most financially successful opening show 
ever held was the result. It is interesting to notice that of the 
$1772 awarded in prizes through the year, the Hoveys won 
$222, Francis Parkman and James McTear $145 each, W. C. 
Harding, $135, and A. McLaren $85. Many new and rare plants 


were exhibited, notably Aucuba Japonica, shown in fruit here 
for the first time, by H. Hollis Hunncwcll. A new seedling 
herbaceous peony called Perfection was the herald of an advance 
which the Committee could not have foreseen. It was exhibited 
by John Richardson, a picturesque, old-fashioned gentleman 
of seventy years, who was to live twenty years longer and pro- 
duce in his half-acre garden varieties of peonies not surpassed 
elsewhere in the world. Francis Parkman exhibited the seedling 
Lilium Parkmanni. The Fruit Committee were confronted this 
year by a curious fact: the total fruit product was below the 
average, yet the prices were lower. With a sigh they confessed 
that California was probably going to crowd out our grapes: the 
best European varieties could be had there for thirty dollars a 
ton, and they were only one week distant. Could Massachusetts 
hold her own in fruits? There were considerations which made 
them think so: in thirty years our population of forty millions 
would have increased to a hundred, and all energies would be 
needed to feed that number. Secondly, fruits deteriorate soon, and 
Massachusetts growers could save deterioration, freight, and com- 
missions. As to pears and apples, there was nothing to fear for 
them; and if cultivators would stop congratulating themselves 
on what they had done, and get to work, they would realize that 
no approach to a test of market capacity for fruits had yet been 
made: prices were now merely too high for free use by all classes. 
A surplus crop of peaches always compelled a moderate price, 
and the demand at once vastly increased. The producer was not 
to blame for the prices; it was the retail dealer, who in Boston 
was getting much too large commissions. The exhibited fruit never 
looked better on the tables than in the new ware expressly made 
for the Society, each dish bearing the seal. Some of it had come 
from California by way of the American Pomological Society's 
exhibition at Philadelphia, and some apples from Nebraska — 
evidently the cause of the Committee's call to arms. Grapes were 
never better shown in the country that at the annual exhibition. 
Vegetables did splendidly; competition was increasing, new ex- 
hibitors were entering, and the cultivation under glass was so 
steadily drawing capital in the vicinity of the city that the Com- 
mittee hinted for a premium for the best constructed and managed 

An Exhibition in the Tremont Street Hall, 1869 


forcing house. Albert Bresee was still having great success with 
his new varieties of potatoes, and the Early Rose was continuing 
the triumphant career which brought it a special prize of thirty 
dollars two years later. Moore's Early Sweet Corn was shown, 
and also proved itself a valuable acquisition. 

Josiah Stickney, a former president and an unfailing friend 
of the Society, had often consulted Marshall P. Wilder as to how 
he might do the most for it; and for fifteen or twenty years a 
clause had stood in his will bequeathing to it his beautiful Water- 
town estate for an experimental garden. It is probable that Wilder 
— though he did not say so — had noted the enthusiasm of Rand 
and the force of Parkman, and perceived with his usual broad 
vision that the Library was destined to play a principal role in 
the Society's future. However, in this year of 1869 Stickney 
changed the bequest to a loan of twelve thousand dollars to the 
Library, the principal to go at the end of thirty years to Harvard 
College, and the interest, amounting to seven hundred dollars a 
year, to buying books. This year the two Rands, one in England 
and the other in France, found opportunities too favorable to be 
neglected of securing valuable horticultural works; and accord- 
ingly the additions greatly exceeded those of any previous year. 
The Committee reported that desiring the benefit of Rand's 
judgment and experience, they had exceeded the funds at their 
disposal; but that in view of the value of the books and the 
moderate price, they presumed that the Society would wish to re- 
tain them. If not, the books in excess would be taken by a " gentle- 
man anxious to avail himself of this opportunity of adding to his 
library at far less expense than could be done by other means." 
The deficiency amounted to about three hundred and thirty-three 
dollars, and the total expenditure sixteen hundred more. It is 
much harder than usual to read between the lines in this report, 
and we shall not try; but even if Prussian methods were resorted 
to by the good Committee, we shall in this instance probably be 
ready to forgive them. They at least cleverly shifted the responsi- 
bility to the Society, where it belonged. 

The address of the President on New Year's Day of 1870 re- 
flected the happy year just concluded; and after a review of the 
exhibitions he added that Boston beat all cities as much in these 


as she did in her sculpture, her paintings, and her literature. If 
this statement does not Beem strikingly modest even from a 

citizen of the Hub of the Universe, we must remember that the 
Fruit Committee needed encouragement after its -(are over 
California fruits. The floating debt had been extinguished, SO 

thousand dollars had been taken from the mortgage, and the 
prospect was golden. 

For 1870 most premiums for plants were transferred from the 
opening to the rose show, making it the grand spring exhibition; 
thus two large exhibitions no longer came too close together. 
There were twenty-seven pages of prize-winners in the report, 
which made W. C. Strong admit that the Committee was some- 
what burdened with novelties, and later announce that the task 
was now to weed out the mediocrities. The new interest in raising 
hybrids from seed produced one triumph, the carnations originated 
by President Hyde. The dry season had no perceptible effect on 
the exhibitions, which were uniformly excellent. Other seedlings 
appeared — coleuses from H. Hollis Hunnewell, another herba- 
ceous peony, called Dorchester, from John Richardson, and lilies 
from Francis Parkman and the Hoveys. Plants were equally 
interesting and included the California snow plant, from Lake 
Tahoe. The largest display of native flowers ever shown was one 
of over two hundred and sixty species and varieties by Mrs. 
C. N. S. Horner in August. A change in the arrangement of the 
hall was made for the annual exhibition, a fountain with a basin 
of aquatic plants occupying the centre, and the show was one of 
the most attractive for years. The uniform mildness of the winter 
allowed the strawberries to come through safely, and the May 
and June rains gave them large size, but at the expense of flavor. 
The President Wilder maintained its high position over the 
Jucunda, and beautiful specimens of La Constante were shown 
by J. C. Park; in fact a new enthusiasm for the delicious fruit 
had arisen, of course accompanied by keen rivalry. The Com- 
mittee were particularly enthusiastic over the grapes at the annual 
show, and claimed that it was mere justice to declare that they 
had not been surpassed anywhere in the country this year — Cali- 
fornia, we trust, included. There were seventy varieties of them 
on the tables. Plums were still subject to the curculio; but a little 


hope arose from the exhibit of Dr. Louis Tribus — a French 
variety, probably St. Catherine — which he claimed were exempt. 
The apples found conditions favorable until August; then the 
drought did some damage; but from the final results the inference 
was that as for the single process of maturing the fruit, with the 
reserve supply of vital force in the tree, and with the aid of the 
deep-running roots, it could go on upon an astonishingly small 
supply of moisture. It must be remembered that the Committee 
was able with the help of R. T. Paine's record of precipitation, 
to compare the results of the last forty-six years. Certainly the 
crop was almost too abundant; the market was glutted. Beautiful 
pears also were exhibited : Clapp's Favorite, the Flemish Beauty, 
the Duchesse d'Angouleme, the Doyenne du Cornice, the Bartlett, 
and many others. The early forced vegetables were very fine; 
and at the opening exhibition were shown twelve stalks of aspara- 
gus weighing fifty-three ounces. There was a bunch of the famous 
Conover's Colossal from New York, " sent on, no doubt, with a 
view to astonish the natives," said the Committee. " It has been 
claimed that this asparagus will attain four times the size of any 
other variety; this bunch, although containing eighteen stalks, 
weighed only fifty-six ounces, and possessed no point of superi- 
ority over that shown by Mr. Moore. We hope our New York 
friends will try again another season." The Committee was surely 
entitled to crow. Moore also exhibited again his New Early sweet 
corn, which this year won a silver medal. Potatoes were excellent, 
and in great variety; and the melons at the annual show had never 
been excelled. One watermelon weighed forty pounds. The Gar- 
den Committee, which had not reported for two years, received 
few invitations because of the drought: " under the burning sun 
the green became brown, the mellow earth became rigid — and 
the very weeds hung down their heads in seeming despair "; but 
before it began they had again visited the estate of Edward S. 
Rand, Jr., in Dedham, and had awarded him the Society's silver 
medal for new and valuable varieties of rhododendrons, and the 
highest Hunnewell prize — one hundred and sixty dollars — for 
the improvement in his grounds in the last three years. They took 
occasion to explain that Hunnewell's idea was doubtless to con- 
sider a place as a whole: it was useless in a country with no law 


of primogeniture and no entailed estates to expect a place to re- 
main long entire, and it was therefore impossible to be exacting in 
judgment, or to adhere too strictly to the rules of the landscape 
gardener's art. In i860 Rand's place had been almost a wilder- 
ness, and now on the hillside were a hundred and fifty varieties 
of superb rhododendrons, and elsewhere most beautiful spring 
bulbs and flowering plants. 

The Library acquired a large number of books in 1870, and 
could have used more than the thousand dollars spent, — in- 
clusive of the seven hundred from the Stickney fund. Many of 
the additions were important, and many popular books were 
bought and others received as gifts. 

E. W. Buswell, always praised as an efficient and devoted 
treasurer, announced in January, 1871, that the mortgage debt 
had been reduced $7500, and that the receipts from Mount 
Auburn were about $5869. The membership had increased to 
1014, and the retiring President, James F. C. Hyde, expressed his 
gratification at the harmony and good will which had charac- 
terized the Society during his four years of service, — a matter on 
which he seems always to have kept his eye, as perhaps the nature 
of horticultural rivalry at this time in a peculiar sense demanded. 

Chapter X • 1871-1874. PRESIDENT STRONG'S 

WILLIAM C. STRONG, the new president, indirectly 
reinforced Mr. Hyde's remarks by quoting John 
Lowell, who had said at the first festival that the 
Society was the only means of concentrating the individual skill 
of our cultivators. Lowell seemed to have discerned the real 
source of the Society's power, which was " concentrating the indi- 
vidual skill of members into the focus of experience "; and taking 
this as a text, the President pointed out that in the very first 
schedule of prizes there were premiums for treatises, by which 
theories derived from experiments could be broached and facts 
brought to light and published. Had all of the members — some 
of them very scientific men — done everything possible in this 
direction, he asked? No doubt individuals had profited from one 
another's experience and counsel, but the full power of the Society 
had never been so exerted. Was it not reasonable to expect from 
such a Society discussions, essays, lectures and records of experi- 
ments? Mr. Strong thought so, if opportunity was given for brief 
monographs, and if it were understood that statements of value 
would be duly honored; and he furthermore believed that such 
lectures or essays would react and multiply the number of experi- 
menters and observers, and thus evolve new and important facts. 
It must be remembered that Samuel Walker had suggested 
lectures from specialists and a new professorship, and had re- 
ceived a response, though necessarily a somewhat faint one. At 
first sight it seems perplexing that his effort resulted in not much 
more than preserving a tradition. The explanation is in reality 
simple enough: in the first era, that of John Lowell and Dearborn, 
men were principally in search of knowledge and material: they 
were collecting, and the very first requisite was a general grasp 
of facts that could come only from experience. The Society was 
actually not strong enough and the field perhaps not broad enough 
to do much by lectures and published essays; and moreover, the 


New England Farmer and other periodicals, to whirh Lowell him- 
self was a constant contributor, took the place of them, especially 
in the departments of fruits and vegetable.-, in our so-called 
" second era," which began roughly with the opening of the Hall 
on School Street, almost the reverse of this process occurred: a 
mass of material had been acquired, and the task was to select. 
For this, likewise, comparatively little special or scientific knowl- 
edge was necessary: the exhibitions formed the principal test for 
flowers, and a large part of the test for fruits and vegetables. But 
of late years, as we have already seen, matters took another turn: 
— another era had begun, 1 and if it is dangerous to characterize 
it by any one word such as " experimentation " or " investigation," 
it is at least certain that the present need of " focussing results " 
could not possibly have been met in any other way than by lec- 
tures, essays, and particularly discussions. President Strong 
admirably precipitated what was in the air; and if he must share 
with others the credit of suggesting one of the Society's most 
effective means of usefulness, we must admit with M. P. Wilder 
that Strong's was the eye which perceived that the time was ripe 
for it and his the energy which carried it through. And con- 
tributing in no small degree to the result — whether as a cause 
or an effect — were the vigorous efforts of E. S. Rand, Jr., and 
Francis Parkman to put the Library on a proper basis. Robinson, 
the distinguished English writer on horticulture, who had been 
present at the last annual exhibition, wrote that the collection of 
books in the Library was the best he had ever seen; and Mr. 
Strong closed his invigorating speech with an appeal to his hearers 
to use these books: " Add a little science to your shrewd common 
sense, energy, practical skill and ingenuity! " 

In the exhibitions of the year specialties, novelties, and hybrid 
seedlings formed the most interesting and instructive part. Rho- 
dodendrons and azaleas from E. S. Rand, Jr., and C. S. Sargent 
were a feature of the opening show, and cut flow r ers and filled 
baskets were numerous. The experiment of making the rose show 
a major exhibition was very successful: plants and flowers were 
in better condition on the twentieth and twenty-first of June than 

1 Darwin's Origin of Species appeared in 1859, but during the next few years 
America was preoccupied. 



earlier, and contributors had more leisure. The show filled both 
halls, and was one of the largest displays ever made. In connec- 
tion with the rose and strawberry show in June, a discussion on 
strawberry culture was held ; and with the lily exhibition of July 
the fifteenth, a meeting was held for discussion of the culture and 
hybridization of the lily — the first fruits of Mr. Strong's sugges- 
tion. They were well attended, and attracted an encouraging 
amount of interest. Many orchids were exhibited; Charles S. 
Sargent brought the first forced lilies of the valley, and John 
Richardson showed Rubra Superba, another seedling peony. The 
Fruit Committee continued their meteorological studies, and con- 
cluded that the great changes during the spring were responsible 
for a diminished fruit crop, and that warmth and dryness had 
hastened the ripening by about two weeks. A new enemy appeared 
in the " girdler," or oncideres cingulatus, which cut off half -inch 
limbs of pear trees. The first fruit of the year was the Triomphe 
de Gand strawberry, which appeared on the twenty-fifth of 
February. M. P. Wilder was awarded a cup for strawberries, and 
J. C. Park a prize for La Constante; but as the latter could not 
succeed except under the highest culture, the Committee decided 
a year later that it was imperative, in order not to deceive novices, 
to make adaptation to general cultivation an indispensable 
requisite to taking a prize, — rewarding the producer for his skill 
by a gratuity. The cherries, which it was feared were going the 
way of the plums — of which there was one single dish exhibited, 
were found to be free from curculio larvae and rot. Apples — this 
being an " odd year " — at first commanded high prices, but were 
soon forced down by supplies from New York and Michigan. 
E. A. Colman, of Kansas, exhibited over a hundred varieties, 
some of them never seen here before, and received for them fifteen 
dollars and a silver medal — while his little daughter, Alice, who 
assisted in arranging the collection, received a silver medal for 
pomological skill! This collection exceeded in bulk all the other 
apples exhibited during the entire year. But the pears were so 
abundant at the great exhibition that there would not have been 
room for them if the apples had been numerous. There were over 
a hundred and sixty dishes of them: M. P. Wilder exhibited forty- 
two varieties never before shown at the exhibitions. Grapes were 


abundant; but the frosts of September did much damage, and 
once again made the Committee sigh for thai great desideratum, 
a good early grape. But J. B. Moore exhibited fifty-two new seed- 
lings, which showed that courage was not lacking. One interesting 

object at the exhibit ions was a group of cases of insects injurious 
to vegetables, — a branch of work which P. S. Sprague intended 
to continue, for harmful insects were rapidly increasing, and it 
was apparent that vigilance was to be the price of success. Beets 
and Early Wyman cabbage were well shown, Moore's Early Con- 
cord corn continued to meet all hopes, and at the annual exhibition 
appeared Giant Rocca onions, grown at the City Institution on 
Deer Island, which the Garden Committee had visited five years 
before. The vegetable department was no longer unattractive and 
neglected; at the annual exhibition there were forty-nine contribu- 
tors, amongst them Albert Bresee, whose Early Rose potato was 
now awarded the prize of thirty dollars after a public trial of three 
years. This annual exhibition of vegetables was undoubtedly the 
best ever held so far. The Garden Committee spent a pleasant 
afternoon in August at the Hermitage, the Dorchester estate of 
William Gray, Sr., which had been almost entirely reclaimed in 
three years. They admired an imposing hedge of cannas, of which 
Gray had raised nearly twenty-five hundred seedlings in a single 
year. He had contrived an ingenious method of following the 
fortunes of his hundred and fifty varieties of geraniums, by which 
the name of each, the time of its planting, and the time of its 
blooming were easily found for comparison. At J. W. Manning's 
ten-acre nurseries, where in the midst of a violent rain storm the 
Committee received cordial and generous hospitality, the remark- 
able variety of arbor vitae won a silver medal. Of these Manning 
had got five hundred plants from Maine and propagated four 
hundred more. 

Edwin W. Buswell now held an almost Gilbertian plethora of 
offices: those of Treasurer, Corresponding Secretary, Librarian 
and Superintendent. As Librarian he expressed gratification at 
the interest taken by the members; as Superintendent he 
noticed the growing social intercourse, which guaranteed the 
good-will so necessary to future prosperity: as Corresponding 
Secretary he looked to the new Committee on Lectures and Dis- 


cussions, — Francis Parkman, E. S. Rand, Jr., and Robert 
Manning, — to give the impulse to the scientific and literary 
operations. As Treasurer he announced that the receipts from 
Mount Auburn were $1587.14, — a very small return because 
of the purchase by the Mount Auburn trustees of six and a half 
additional acres, involving about sixteen thousand dollars, of 
which the Horticultural Society was to pay one-fourth; and it 
seemed to him that in view of this obligation, and similar ones 
which might occur, the Society should be represented on the 
Mount Auburn Board. President Strong, at the first meeting in 
January, 1872, prophesied that the lectures and discussions would 
be a work of great general importance; the field was new and 
wide, and the want manifest. The present work of the Society 
had become so systematized and regular that there was danger 
of forgetting, in the extent of cultivation, that the object now 
was higher standards. The ratio of productiveness had noticeably 
declined, as a comparison of the present state of plum, peach and 
cherry crops with the abundance of former generations plainly 
showed. The same decline was apparent in agriculture; and it 
was due to the constant cropping of the land, since the settlement 
of the country, without returning any compensation. The line of 
pristine fertility had receded from the Atlantic coast to the very 
heart of the continent; the ruthless war on the forests, those 
great regulators and equalizers of heat, moisture, wind and even 
electricity, had almost exterminated them, so that the climate 
was drier, more changeable and windier, the rivers and streams 
were more fluctuating, and insect life was constantly increasing 
in extent and destructiveness. The case was chronic, he said, but 
not out of control: our best cultivators were already superior 
to drought and disease, and the obvious duty was to give con- 
stant publicity to all examples of triumphs over adverse con- 
ditions. He conceived it now to be the Society's duty to arrest 
the attention of the public and to force upon everybody the 
convincing results of experience and investigation, — to discuss, 
collect, search out, foster and record. The Committee's duty 
was to think of issuing publications from time to time, and the 
Society's to make any reasonable appropriation they asked. If 
Mr. Strong's speech a year ago is read with this of 1872, the 


debt which the Society and horticulture in general owe to his 
keen perception and practical sense is in some degree apparent, 
and will become more so as we note the full effects of his enter- 
prising departure. 

Marshall P. Wilder, as so often happened, led the way in 
practice. On the evening of the seventh of February he gave a 
lecture on the hybridization and the production of new plants 
from seed, matters in which he was able to instruct his associ- 
ates authoritatively. This he gladly did, he said, in accordance 
with the " late recommendation in regard to the establishment 
of a free course of lectures and discussions." Circumstances pre- 
vented a continuation of the discussions during the latter part 
of the season — the great Boston fire doubtless — but already 
an opportunity for another kind of investigation had presented 
itself. There had often been severe winters and unpropitious 
springs and autumns; but never in the memory of the oldest 
horticulturists had such general destruction of vegetation oc- 
curred as that which resulted from the winter and spring of 
1871-72. A detailed statement was made of w T hat had happened 
to evergreens, and to a long list of flowers, and of what effects 
had been observed in vegetation that had been protected; — 
there were even notes comparing the results on Rand's place 
with those on Hunnewell's. But our skilful horticulturists, 
" superior to the seasons," were able to present more than 
ordinarily prosperous-looking exhibitions, — seedling camellias 
from the Hoveys, magnificent rosebuds of climbing Devoniensis 
from James Comley, quantities of native flowers, for which a 
premium had been added, and a collection of native ferns from 
E. H. Hitchings. The baskets of flowers were not numerous, but 
being of the ladies' department they were excellent. The annual 
exhibition as w r ell as the others showed the greatest care: the 
President's behest as to higher standards was being heeded. 
Indian azalea and rose exhibitions were held, the former for the 
first time; dahlias were unusually good; but the chrysanthe- 
mum show was small because of a prevalent sickness among 
horses which cut off all means of bringing pot plants to the halls. 
Among the few new plants, Aquilegia chrysantha from the 
Botanic Garden was shown by Louis Guerineau, and the Chame- 


leon coleus by H. E. Chitty. The Fruit Committee, through the 
help of R. T. Paine, supplied a careful, tabulated weather report, 
which described the dry cold and high winds of the winter, fol- 
lowed by a summer of extreme heat and heavy rainfall. The 
peach trees were not hurt, while even hardy forest trees were. 
Berries suffered, but currants throve, and were well represented 
by exhibits of the Versailles for red, and Dana's Transparent 
for white. Apples were abundant only in New England, and good 
prices for export resulted. Through M. P. Wilder 's continued 
enthusiasm the standard for seedling pears had been greatly 
raised of late years, as we have seen, and he sent notes on the 
best, for the Society's use. His exhibit was the only one which 
could be regarded as encouraging to the plan of offering prizes 
for the introducing and testing of new varieties: once too many, 
pears were now becoming too few. The Concord made the best 
record in a season so unsuited to grapes. Two new strawberries 
were shown, the Colonel Cheney by Warren Heustis, and the 
Nicanor; and the first meeting for discussion of the winter, 
opened by an essay by J. B. Moore, was again devoted to the 
strawberry. The vegetables of the year were uniformly good, but 
the Committee were disappointed in the small number grown 
under glass, and planned to stimulate them with more prizes. The 
Garden Committee again visited the " Hermitage," in Dorchester, 
which was competing for the Hunnewell prize, and found that 
great additions and improvements had been made. They saw there 
a magnificent specimen of Papyrus antiquorum, and told the story 
that when one was wanted for the great Egyptian exhibition 
at Cairo a short time ago, not one could be obtained from 
the banks of the Nile, and the directors had to borrow one from 
Berlin. Some of the Committee drove over to Marshall P. Wilder's 
place, and their report shows vividly the affection in which Wilder 
was held. " The ever-open doors and tasteful mansion of our 
distinguished associate " were too well known to need description, 
but there were some changes. The original plant of the famous Mrs. 
Abby Wilder camellia was seen; this and its companion, Camel- 
lia Wilderii, were the only ones out of a collection of eight hundred 
that were saved from the fire which destroyed the greenhouse in 
1839. This queen of camellias was now twelve feet high, and was 

always as objecl of great inter' si and affection. They also noticed 

a vigorous Concord vine. u This visit, though Short and informal. 

conferred great pleasure, as everything connected with our honored 
and beloved associate always does. Your Committee returned re- 
newedly impressed with his untiring energy and his life-long devo- 
tion to the interests of Horticulture and the advancement of the 
public good." Other visits were to Glen Ridge, the estate of E. S. 
Rand, Jr., whose windmill and reservoir tower drew their admira- 
tion, and to Newton Cemetery. Few things, they declared, indicate 
better than a cemetery a town's general liberality and refinement. 
They were delighted to hear that purchasers there were obliged 
to leave money in trust for the perpetual care of their lots, and 
hoped that "other and older institutions " would follow this ex- 
ample. The superintendent was awarded a gratuity. 

By January, 1873, a further reduction of five thousand dollars 
in the mortgage had been made, and the property of the Society 
was estimated at nearly two hundred and sixty-eight thousand 
dollars, with a total indebtedness of eighty-nine thousand, five 
hundred. The financial prospect for 1873 was not promising, how- 
ever; the great Boston fire of November the ninth and tenth had 
cancelled some engagements and prevented new ones — for as 
Governor Washburn said in his address to the Legislature, the 
calamity affected even those who lived in the remotest parts of 
the State, — and the publication of a new Library catalogue and 
the writing of the history of the Society had already been entered 
upon, — both to be done by Robert Manning. Buswell repeated 
verbatim his suggestion of last year that the Society should be 
represented in the Mount Auburn Corporation. 

But President Strong looked forward to new work. The greatest 
power of the Society lay in its exhibitions — it was judged by its 
fruits; but Boston was projecting public parks, and it was worth 
noting that in connection with them — we see that the experimen- 
tal garden idea died hard — a collection of plants might be thought 
of, like Kew Gardens or that of the Royal Horticultural Society 
in Regents Park, London. The present duty, however, was to exert 
a direct and positive influence on the public mind about the 
interests of fruit culture, particularly that of the apple. There 
were thousands of acres of hillside in Massachusetts peculiarly 


adapted to it; and the Society could diffuse information, offer 
prizes for new plantations, and even invoke state aid. At the close 
of his address the President announced that in September the 
American Pomological Society, whose president was M. P. Wilder, 
would hold its quarter-centennial session in Boston, would be the 
Society's guests, and would have an exhibition of fruits in the 
halls of the Society, while the latter exhibited in Music Hall. He 
counselled the members to give their guests a hearty welcome and 
a thorough beating. 

The impromptu exhibitions held during the year 1873 were 
doubly interesting and largely attended because of the discussions 
held in connection with them. M. P. Wilder seemed to be renewing 
his youth in camellia culture, and Hovey and Company, James 
Nugent, James McTear, Mrs. T. W. Ward, Mrs. Wood and Mrs. 
Joyce were regarded as regular contributors. At the opening ex- 
hibition on the seventh of June, one of the finest exhibits of tree 
peonies ever seen was made by M. P. Wilder. Some fine seedling 
delphiniums were shown in July by Francis Parkman, and on the 
twenty-sixth some magnificent orchids by E. S. Rand, Jr. A display 
of gladioli " never before equalled," on the twenty-third of August, 
was surpassed two weeks later by the Messrs. Craft and Richards. 
Of the annual exhibition in Music Hall it was doubted whether 
" such a scene had ever been witnessed this side of the tropics." 
The palms were splendid, and fully justified the prize established 
two years before; the progress made with gladioli was extraordi- 
nary; and a huge collection of native and exotic ferns by J. W. 
Merrill was undoubtedly the largest ever shown at one time. The 
dahlia was never so popular as now; and on October the eleventh 
George Everett exhibited sixty varieties. To complete the trium- 
phant year of flowers, the chrysanthemum show in November con- 
tained the finest specimens ever seen at the Hall. $2512 was 
awarded during the season. The long drought of nearly two months 
beginning in the latter part of May variously affected the fruits; 
many peach buds were killed; the strawberry crop was reduced 
one-half; the cherries were abundant; all small fruits suffered; and 
the apples were inferior, as was natural in this year which ended in 
an odd number. But pears were more abundant and excellent than 
ever before. Among seedlings there were many instances of repro- 


duction of old varieties, and more instam £S of many of their fea- 
tures: had Nature exhausted her types, asked the Committee, and 
was she now able to afford only repetitions? What WB& -aid in 1869 
about the price of grapes, was now true of pears — the dealers 
were making enormous profits. As to grapes, the Committee hoped 
that a good white variety might be found among Moore's and 
Bull's seedlings. We have already told the story of the Concord 
grape. It was this year that the Society voted E. W. Bull his gold 
medal, and another to E. S. Rogers for his improvements by hy- 
bridizing the native and the foreign species — belated recognition 
in the former instance, the Committee confessed. The American 
Pomological Society's exhibition in the halls in September, with its 
magnificent apples from Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and other places, 
was conceded to be the best in extent and beauty ever seen in 
Boston; but the Committee claimed that the pears were not so 
good as the Society's a week later. An incidental benefit of the 
show was the opportunity to become acquainted with some of the 
best cultivators in the country. The difficulty in awarding prizes 
was becoming greater, and the Committee's plan of procedure, 
which they said they were willing to amend if anybody could tell 
them how, was first to make a general review and a sifting, and 
then to mark on the following points: size, beauty, quality, and 
desirability for general cultivation, — perfection being marked 
by the number one and anything less by fractions. Vegetables 
were affected by the long drought, but recovered after the July 
rains. C. D. Kingman's white seeded wax beans and Bresee's pota- 
toes continued to gain favor. Two new tomatoes were shown, the 
Canada Victor and the Arlington. Because of the occupation of 
the halls in September by the Pomological Society, the fruit and 
the vegetable departments held an independent exhibition in the 
third week of September, when fifty contributors filled all the 
space reserved for the latter. 

It had long been popularly supposed that the rhododendron 
could not be transplanted except by experts, and that kalmias and 
azaleas were too treacherous for common cultivation. But experi- 
ence had shown that the magnificent plants required only reason- 
able care to become as accommodating as a lilac bush; and in 
order to draw public attention to them, several members of the 


Society took up under its sanction the costly experiment of an 
exhibition on Boston Common. H. Hollis Hunnewell, himself a 
lover of the rhododendron, had for several years noticed the 
success of such exhibitions in London; and now with a few friends 
he undertook to supply the plants, to guarantee the Society against 
financial loss, and to give to it the profits if there should be any. 
The generous plan was carried out, and the exhibition held from 
June the sixth through the twenty-sixth. The tent was three 
hundred feet by eighty, and the tubs of the plants were sunk in 
beds of turf. From the entrance, which was on the east side, a 
gravelled path led up to a mass of rhododendrons more than forty 
feet in diameter. The walk then divided and led along either side 
to the end of the great tent. The ground was made undulating 
in order to resemble a natural surface, and there were other groups 
and single specimens of plants, specially azaleas and kalmias, 
the whole being arranged on a distinct plan for landscape effect. 
About forty thousand people came, of whom twenty-five thousand 
paid admission fees, — for Hunnewell wished all scholars from 
the public schools and from many other institutions to be admitted 
free. The scene in the great tent was indescribably beautiful: the 
" splendid trusses of every hue, with gauze-like ruffles edged or 
dashed with marvellous effect " were a revelation to many of the 
thousands who saw them. The financial result was a profit of 
$1565.28; and Mr. Hunnewell suggested that it should be used 
as a prize-fund for rhododendrons and hardy azaleas. He believed 
that no other exhibition in Boston had ever drawn so many visi- 
tors; and offered, if the Society should wish to have another in the 
autumn, to give a hundred and fifty dollars in special prizes, and 
as much more for an exhibition of Indian azaleas in the spring. 
The Society voted with hearty thanks to use the receipts of the 
late exhibition in accordance with the suggestion; but while ex- 
pressing appreciation of Mr. HunnewelPs kind interest in regard 
to future shows, they were obliged to be somewhat reserved as to 
definite plans. 

The Garden Committee were the natural hosts, or guides, of the 
members of the Pomological Society, and several days of happy 
fellowship followed. Together they visited the " Hermitage," the 
estate of William Gray, Jr., in Dorchester, which now received 


the highest EiunneweU prize. On the evening of the same cleat 
day, the eleventh of September, they went to H. Hollis Hunne- 

well's estate in Wellesley, where they were enchanted by all they 

saw — the company " large beyond expectation/ 1 with a few ladies 

in the distance " enlivening the party," the vistas, the foliage, the 
" vast velvet lawns," the Italian garden, the forest, the lake, and 
the green fields beyond. 

In 1872 William Kenrick had died, and during 1873 ex-Presi- 
dent Joseph Breck and John L. Russell, two more prominent mem- 
bers, were also missed by those with whom they had worked 
so long and faithfully. Breck had joined the Society in its first 
year, and Russell, the Professor of Botany and Vegetable Physi- 
ology, was its highest authority in these subjects. By his will the 
Library received his collection of books, which was especially rich 
in works on cryptogamic botany. Robert Manning's new catalogue 
showed the skill and thoroughness characteristic of him; and re- 
presented a collection of horticultural works unrivalled in the 
United States. In the following May, W. E. Endicott suggested a 
complete index to the plates. The acquisitions had for two years 
been large, because the interest from the Stickney fund could be 
used only for new books; and the Treasurer estimated the total 
value of the Library at about $11,500. He also announced that 
$10,713.55 had been received from Mount Auburn; that the mort- 
gage had been further reduced by $7500; and that the total income 
was $37,585.69. The number of members at the beginning of 1874 
was 1032. 

In his annual address in January, 1874, President Strong did 
not apologize for recurring to the matter of lectures and discus- 
sions. The experience of the past year had been distinctly en- 
couraging. He remarked on the number of local societies which 
had sprung up in our prominent towns and cities, and queried 
whether it was not worth while to ask in what respect the Massa- 
chusetts Horticultural Society's works were distinctive, and 
whether the Society was to retain its old relative importance as a 
wealthy metropolitan organization. Its central position and its 
resources implied obligations; and the members, who went to the 
source of knowledge, were bound to bring this knowledge to the 
common use. Earnestly and effectively he exhorted them to pub- 


lish their results, to comment, to inquire, and to discuss. More- 
over his keen eye perceived the essential advantage of the seminar 
over the mere use of books. All exhibitions held simultaneously 
with the discussions suggested by them greatly improved on previ- 
ous standards, and by a natural reaction the discussions also im- 
proved. The discussions now began to be regularly published with 
the other transactions, under the editorship of Robert Manning. 

They began in 1874 on the tenth of January with an essay on 
dwarf pear trees, by E. W. Wood, — a subject directly bearing on 
the experimentation suggested by the Fruit Committee — and 
were held in the Library. Two weeks later the question of horti- 
cultural prizes was introduced by C. M. Hovey, who twenty-nine 
years before had favored medals; but no conclusion was reached. 
On the last day of January came two subjects, one introduced 
by James O'Brien with an essay on the cultivation of the cyclamen, 
and the other, by President Strong, on protecting trees from 
canker worms. The discussions often furnish curious bits of in- 
formation: in this one M. P. Wilder told of a time thirty years 
before when the worms were so numerous that they could be heard 
travelling through the grass. At a business meeting on the seventh 
of February it was voted to protest against the " indiscriminate 
destruction" of the so-called Paddock Elms on Tremont Street; 
but the effort was in vain, and three weeks later, while the mem- 
bers were gathered in the Library discussing the new rose, Eliza 
Tailby, a crash outside brought them to the windows to gaze 
sadly at the fall of the first of the veterans. Mr. Strong said that 
he had presented the strongest possible arguments in favor of 
saving the trees; and Mr. Wilder remarked that he was thankful 
there were some in the sacred enclosure opposite, — the Granary 
Burying-Ground. It later transpired that one of the elms across the 
street had sent roots into the burying-ground and twined them 
around the skull of James Otis. 2 The discussion of the Eliza Tailby 
rose was then resumed. Subjects on other days were the amaryllis, 
the new Aralia Veitchii, the Eucalyptus globulus, or big tree of 
California, and geraniums. At the meeting on February the 
twenty-first, M. P. Wilder, much pleased to see ladies present, an- 
nounced that the Supreme Court had just affirmed the constitu- 

2 M. P. Wilder, Transactions, March 26, 1S81. 


tional eligibility Of ladies to the School Committees. After the ap- 
plause had subsided he acknowledged the gain to the Society in 
having the ladies give their experience in the growth of plants Bfl 
well as in the growth of families. On March the fourteenth, dis- 
cussion had gone on but a short time when Wilder suggested ad- 
journment on account of the " occasion about to transpire," as the 
report expressed it, at Faneuil Hall in half an hour — the meet- 
ing in honor of Charles Sumner, with the city in a state of mourn- 
ing. Out of respect to the memory of Sumner, and of Millard Fill- 
more, both of whom were honorary members of the Society, the 
meeting was adjourned. A pressing subject was brought up on 
October the seventeenth — " Legislative Enactments to Prevent 
the Multiplication of Injurious Insects in Neglected Orchards," 
begun by E. S. Rand, Jr., who vividly described a case in West 
Roxbury where there were about two hundred trees, with an 
average of ten or twelve caterpillar nests per tree. Neighbors had 
offered to destroy them without cost to the owner; but the latter 
refused permission, alleging his " right to raise as many cater- 
pillars as he pleased "; and year after year the neighbors had been 
obliged to fight caterpillars propagated by this orchard. This story 
created such indignation that a special committee reported on the 
subject, and recommended that the Society should invite the co- 
operation of the State Board of Agriculture and the various hor- 
ticultural and agricultural societies of the State in petitioning the 
Legislature. But obviously before doing this it was wise to educate 
the public in regard to the habits of injurious insects; then, if an 
appeal should still be necessary, it would be more likely to suc- 
ceed. The Committee then pointed out where to find information 
on entomology, reminded the Society that there were but two small 
cases of noxious insects in the Fruit Committee's room, and rec- 
ommended the re-establishment of the professorship of entomol- 
ogy, which a few years before had, for reasons unknown, been 

The Flower Committee at once noticed in the early exhibitions 
the stimulating effects of the discussions. E. S. Rand, Jr., showed 
many beautiful orchids throughout the season, William Gray, Jr., 
and C. N. Gardner cyclamens, and on the twenty-first of March 
azaleas came from several exhibitors. The roses in June were 


creditable; but the display of gladioli in August was magnificent. 
On August the fifteenth were shown some fine collections of native 
ferns. Zinnias and verbenas did not attract much competition. The 
event of the season, as usual, was the annual exhibition, this year 
from September the fifteenth through the eighteenth, held in 
Music Hall. Around a fountain in the centre of the hall were ever- 
greens and plants, and the front of the stage was completely hid- 
den by a magnificent mass of splendid gladioli. Another main at- 
traction was a fine group of H. Hollis HunnewelFs conifers. The 
general effect was as beautiful as that of the 1873 exhibition, which 
had seemed to be beyond possible rivalry. Fruits, as usual, varied; 
strawberries had never been better exhibited than on the second 
of July, — nearly a hundred dishes and baskets of them on the 
table, with the Jucunda winning; plums were hardly worth men- 
tioning, but were awarded premiums so that they might not be 
lost sight of altogether; the Black Eagle, Black Tartarian and 
Downer were the best cherries. Among the excellent apples Gar- 
den Royal was being more widely cultivated. On the twentieth of 
October the Fruit Growers' Association and the International Show 
Society of Halifax, Nova Scotia, sent large collections of apples for 
exhibition and comparison with ours of the same varieties, and for 
the naming of many that were unknown. A meeting of the Fruit 
Committee was called, other authorities were summoned in, and 
the proper names of the known kinds were assigned. We find in 
Manning's account nothing of the Committee's work ; and the in- 
ference is unavoidable, considering his skill in matters of nomen- 
clature and his modesty, that he was the leader in this useful 
work. The pears of the year were not unusual — the slug had 
ravaged many orchards — but Manning brought from C. H. 
Allen, of Salem, two dishes of Orange pears, the fruit of a tree two 
hundred and thirty-five years old, which the year before had 
yielded eight and a half bushels of sound fruit. Grapes fared badly 
because of the cold, damp nights of August, which caused mildew; 
but peaches were the best for many years. Among vegetables the 
excellence was uniform, and James Comley's mushrooms attracted 
attention. At the annual show the Snowflake and the Alpha pota- 
toes were exhibited by C. G. Pringle, of Charlotte, Vermont. The 
Garden Committee attributed the small number of calls — only 


three for the season — to the modesty of people of large taste 
but small means. Again they disclaimed any expectation of a 
" spread/' and declared that in a modest space taste could effec- 
tively be shown. Their object was to improve and adorn the homes 
of the people; and as witness to their sincerity we find Daniel D. 
Slade, at a discussion meeting a year later, opening with his prize 
essay on the Principles of Landscape Gardening as Applied to 
Small Suburban Estates. Edward S. Rand, Jr.'s grapery, the 
Boston City Hospital, fronting four hundred and fifty feet on Har- 
rison Avenue, and H. Hollis HunnewelPs estate at Wellesley were 
the three places visited, — the last on the tenth of June, when the 
rhododendrons were in perfection. This estate covered four hun- 
dred and fifty acres, which took in most of the east and south 
shores of Waban Lake, and was called by M. P. Wilder a splendid 
illustration of the wonderful progress of horticultural improve- 
ment. Begun in about the year 1850, it now stood at the head in 
New England, and perhaps in the country. With fields and forests, 
and an ornamental portion of about forty acres cleared of wild 
growth, it was laid out in splendid avenues and plots; and such 
hardy trees and plants were put in, native and Californian and 
Japanese, as could endure our climate. 3 H. H. Hunnewell was 
elected president of the Society in November; but his engagements 
would not allow him to accept. 

The success of the meetings for discussion had been so pro- 
nounced that the Committee took occasion to remark that the lack 
of a journal especially devoted to horticultural interests was not 
creditable to a city in which for thirty-four years one of the So- 
ciety's ex-presidents — Mr. Hovey — had maintained such an ex- 
cellent one. They were not without hopes that the Society might 
at some future time establish a journal which should represent 
New England; and thought that the first part of the Transactions, 
which contained the articles and lectures, might be regarded as a 
step towards that end. This publication had been sent to prominent 
journals in this country and abroad, and had been much com- 
mended and quoted. 

During 1874 Joseph S. Cabot, Joseph H. Billings, and Francis 
Dana, the great cultivator of seedling fruits, had died. Francis 

3 Memorial Hist, of Boston, Winsor. Article, Horticulture in and about Boston. 


Parkman reported that the number of books in the Library had 
doubled in the last ten years, that all works ordinarily obtainable 
in the market were on hand, that the Committee were on the 
watch for rare and costly volumes, and that imperfect sets were 
being completed. It is interesting in view of the late bequest by 
J. L. Russell to note that there was now a noticeably increasing 
interest in cryptogamic botany. E. W. Buswell, the Treasurer, re- 
ported about $5313 from Mount Auburn, and a $4000 reduction 
of the mortgage debt — smaller than last year because of the 
printing of Part One of the Transactions, and the compensation 
of the Editor. Moreover, the panic of 1874 interfered in many 
ways with the normal income. The year ended with a membership 
of 1032. 

The history of the last four years during which William C. 
Strong was President of the Society, can profitably be quoted from 
his farewell address on the second of January, 1875; for his char- 
acterization of it strikingly reflects his extraordinary services to 
the Society. There had been, he said, no marked events and no 
great changes; like Nature's type, ours had been a uniform, im- 
perceptible, but constant growth. He spoke of the rhododendron 
show, the Committee on Discussions, and Publications, and the 
Editor's chair, and expressed his belief that here was a very rich 
and promising field. But, to continue his own figure of speech, it 
should be possible for us to see that he was himself the sower of 
the seed, and the sturdy cultivator of the field. The " uniform, 
constant growth " would not have been possible under any less 
steady, penetrating and sympathetic eye, nor would such loyal 
response and support have been given to a leader less palpably 
endowed with common sense. We remember the emphasis he had 
put upon unity and cooperation, and are not surprised to hear him 
end his term as he began it, with a word about good-fellowship. 
He thought the entire membership should sometimes be brought 
together, say by an annual harvest-home gathering, or a festival 
like those memorable triennials of the old days. While recognizing 
the usefulness and justice of the small festivals yearly provided 
for those of the Society " who had carried the laboring oar," he 
feared that they were open to the charge of exclusiveness, and that 
few of the members realized how much the Society suffered from 


this charge. The small festivals to which he referred were the 
dinners for the Committee of Arrangements and a few invited 
guests, which came on the day after the annual exhibition, — the 
only things of their kind since 1848. We shall see that his sugges- 
tion of a general dinner was at once carried out. 

H. Hollis Hunnewell had, as we have noticed, been unable to 
undertake the presidency, and on the seventh of November 
Francis Parkman was chosen, — who had " won wreaths of laurel 
all along the field of literature," said Mr. Strong, in introducing 
him, and "who was almost as widely known for his experience 
in hybridizing plants as for his historical writings," added Mar- 
shall P. Wilder. 4 

4 Mem. Hist, of Boston, Winsor. Article, Horticulture. A London florist made 
Parkman a present of a thousand dollars for a stock of the Lilium Parkmanii. 


Chapter XI ■ 1875-1879. THE SEMI-CENTENNIAL 

PRESIDENT PARKMAN, no less conscious than Mr. 
Strong of the responsibilities of the Society and of the 
claims of the public upon it, praised horticulture for its 
educative effect on the powers of observation and induction. The 
things that would determine the Society's greatness were the spirit 
in which its means were used, and the wisdom that guided it in their 
use. Its business was to recognize and reward merit. The tendency 
of all democratic civilization was, he said, to diffuse itself widely 
without rising very high ; and it was well to beware of the effects 
of yielding to routine. The rest of his intelligent, well coordinated, 
forcible speech mortised in well with Strong's counsel, and prom- 
ised progress along the lines already so happily established. 

" Discussions " began on the ninth of January, 1875, with a 
paper from M. P. Wilder on the cultivation of the Azalea Indica; 
a week later the subject was the hardiness of strawberries; and 
on the twenty-third — for they came on Saturdays in the season 
— John C. Barker spoke on shade trees and their destruction 
and mutilation in cities — a matter which often attracted the in- 
terest and stirred up the indignation of our members. A code of 
rules for the discussions, adopted on the thirtieth, says that the 
assigned subject was to occupy the first half-hour, and that in the 
public discussion following it no member might speak more than 
ten minutes or more than once. On the same day William Gray, 
Jr., spoke on the culture and the varieties of pelargoniums, — and 
it was now decided, after much discussion, that this name should 
take the place of " geraniums." Cryptogamia in cultivation was a 
subject which once more testified to the interest resulting from 
J. L. Russell's bequest of books in 1873. In February, J. P. Moore 
read a searching paper on our native seedling fruits, in which he 
spoke favorably of the prospects for American pears, apples and 
grapes, — an essay which Wilder considered typical of the kind 
which raise horticulture to a science. A lecture by E. S. Rand, Jr., 


on the care of parlor plants extended over two sessions; and one 
by C. M. Hovey on natural sports and the reciprocal influence of 
grafts and stocks was at the other extreme of technicality. On the 
thirteenth of March, James Cartwright tried to dispel the idea 
that orchids were very hard to grow, if rules were obeyed; and 
the interest aroused led the President to remark that the meet- 
ings had acquired a rather conversational character, and rules 
should as far as possible be adhered to, — a criticism which we 
who wish to know our predecessors are glad to find was never too 
closely heeded in the pleasant, mellow turns of the friendly talks. 
A week later CM. Hovey considered gardening as a science, duti- 
fully beginning with the Garden of Eden — though he said very 
little about it. The meeting on the twenty-seventh of March was 
the last of the season, and the paper read on sub-tropical garden- 
ing, by W. Gray, Jr., contained a deal of information. Nothing 
in the whole history of the Society, said the Chairman, had given 
more satisfaction than these meetings. He regarded them as the 
most decided step in advance ever made, and the same testimony 
came from abroad, where the published reports had been copied 
from, and always highly approved. Apparently a quick response 
would now be made for the essay prizes — three of twenty-five 
dollars each. The intention was to publish what was suggestive, in 
order that interest and thoughtful experiment might be awakened. 
On the fifth of June, President Parkman read a letter from 
George E. Davenport presenting to the Library his herbarium, 
which contained one hundred and sixteen species and many varie- 
ties of North American ferns. Davenport had been a member of 
the Society three years and had worked hard to make the collec- 
tion worthy. He continued to labor for ten years more on this 
work, until in 1886 it was complete, with a hundred and sixty- 
five species and twenty-four varieties, and embraced seven hun- 
dred sheets and twenty-five hundred specimens. He then printed 
a catalogue of it at his own expense. With the collection were many 
valuable autograph letters from such men as Asa Gray, Daniel C. 
Eaton and A. W. Chapman. In April, 1876, he was made a life 
member without fee to pay, and in 1886 he was voted the Society's 
silver medal, changed the following year to the Appleton gold 
medal. At the same meeting resolutions were passed to obtain a 


portrait of Dr. Jacob Bigelow, whose activities in regard to the 
founding of Mount Auburn will be remembered. 

A long winter of steady, severe cold had little effect on the 
flowers of 1875. 1 The hybrid perpetual roses, displayed on the 
twenty-seventh of February by James Comley, represented the be- 
ginning of the special shows since held during the late winter. The 
first of the special geranium, or as it must now be called, pelar- 
gonium shows, came in the middle of May, and was made more in- 
teresting by special prizes given by William Gray, Jr. At the usual 
rose show, Gray was himself awarded a prize for Madame 
Laurent. Later in the year E. S. Rand, Jr., brought in several new 
orchids, and other exhibitors of this bewitching flower were begin- 
ning to appear. H. H. Hunnewell sent at different times superb 
rhododendrons, and President Parkman made a magnificent dis- 
play of aquilegias, with many beautiful clematises. At the annual 
show in Music Hall were shown fine plants, many of them rare 
or new, such as HunnewelPs Dracaena Baptistii; and ferns and 
cacti were evidently increasing their hold on general interest. The 
list of prize-takers alone in the exhibitions of the year occupies 
twenty-nine pages of the Committee's report. The Fruit Com- 
mittee as usual gave a specific account of weather conditions: un- 
interrupted cold from the first of December to the first of March, 
with the ground frozen so deep that water-pipes were broken 
in places hitherto immune. Yet the small fruits — except the black- 
berries — were unharmed, and the strawberries yielded a better 
crop than for many years — the show on the second of July espe- 
cially being one of the largest and best ever held, a hundred and 
sixteen baskets and dishes. Hovey's Seedling and Jucunda were 
still the leaders. Cherries were as usual; but plums had almost 
disappeared, and of gooseberries the Committee remarked coldly, 
" We have but little to say of this fruit." It was the " off year " 
for apples — always somewhat religiously referred to as a the 
most valuable of all fruits," as the rose was the Queen of Flowers. 
Pears were better than the average, and at the annual exhibition 
the Bartlett, Beurre Hardy, and Seckel were the largest of their 
kinds ever exhibited. The season was unfavorable for native 

1 Full reports of weekly and annual exhibitions were given in the Boston Eve- 
ning Transcript. 


grapes. The size of the shows at this epoch is well described by the 
following figures: 679 dishes of pears, 170 of apples, fifty-four of 
foreign grapes, ninety-eight of native grapes, forty of peaches, 
nine of orchard house peaches, three of nectarines, fifteen of 
plums, twenty-three of seedling grapes — 109 1 in all — premiums 
and gratuities to 140 different persons, and $1895 awarded. An 
amendment to the By-Laws provided that for 1876 premiums 
should be open to all persons, whether members of the Society or 
not. Early forced vegetables were affected by the cold; but the 
total result in their department had rarely been equalled even in 
favorable seasons. The asparagus, lettuce, radishes and cucumbers 
made the show on the fifth of June the best of the weekly exhibi- 
tions of the year. A new tomato from J. Fillebrown, the Emery, 
appeared to be a promising rival of the Boston Market, so long 
the market gardeners' favorite. Sixteen pages of awards appear 
in the Committee's report; and the verdict on the general results 
was that so many vegetables were so nearly perfect that the 
judges were beginning to be embarrassed. The Committee on 
Gardens, whose chairman was William Gray, Jr., twice visited 
E. S. Rand, Jr., with an especial eye for his orchids. Mrs. C. H. 
Leonard's orchard house and E. W. Wood's grapery appealed to 
their present enthusiasms; and it is interesting to note that for 
the former Mrs. Leonard received a silver medal, and her gar- 
dener, John Falconer, fifty dollars. The City Hospital and three 
cemeteries were visited. The Newton Cemetery especially drew 
encomiums for being comparatively free from heavy granite and 
iron work — and for its rule that none whatever should be allowed 
in new lots — " a rule we think might be advantageously adopted 
by the older cemeteries in our neighbourhood," said the Commit- 
tee again — perhaps feeling that if the shoe fitted Mount Auburn 
it might be put on. 

In obedience to the suggestion of President Strong in his fare- 
well address, a dinner was given in the Upper Hall of the Society 
at the close of the annual show on the twenty-fifth of September. 
This was for all members with their wives " admitted on an 
equal footing," whatever that may mean — it was being con- 
trasted with the usual dinner of the Committee of Arrangements, 
which was practically a private affair. No attempt to rival the 


triennial festivals of former days was acknowledged; the occasion 
was rather a " modest family gathering"; but invitations were 
sent to all the prominent benefactors of the Society or their repre- 
sentatives. Other invited guests were Governor Gaston, James 
Freeman Clarke, Asa Gray, and John P. Putnam. The platform, 
behind the guests' table, was covered with tropical plants, and 
the Germania Band was stationed in the gallery; and at four 
o'clock — according to the old custom — about four hundred sat 
down to an hour's feast. After short speeches of welcome, com- 
mendation and congratulations from President Parkman and the 
distinguished guests, and following some music from the band, 
Marshall P. Wilder was introduced. Wilder's continuous, unselfish 
and intelligent work for horticulture taken with the dignity of ad- 
vancing years and a modesty which was as great at least as his 
enthusiastic admirers would allow it to appear, had brought him 
gradually and insensibly into an almost patriarchal relation to 
the younger men and to the Society in general. He was received 
with cheers, and he thanked the President for reviving the festi- 
vals. The occasion reminded him of the halcyon days, the dinners 
at the Cradle of Liberty — the feminine loveliness — Webster, 
Everett, Seward, Dearborn, Downing — and he reflected that only 
three of its first officers were still alive, John C. Gray, a vice- 
president; Cheever Newhall, a treasurer; and Jacob Bigelow, a 
corresponding secretary. He regretted their absence, but rejoiced 
at the presence of Bigelow's son-in-law, President Parkman. Refer- 
ring briefly to the Society's position as the great leader and exem- 
plar of things horticultural, he declared that when he reflected 
upon the enjoyment he had had in the cultivation of fruits and 
flowers and in rural life, he sometimes felt as though he should 
like to live forever : the fruits perhaps might be better in heaven, 
but his friends were so precious that he prayed to live a little 
longer. Colonel Theodore Lyman, the son of that Theodore Lyman 
to whom the Society owed so much, spoke in pleasant vein, and 
lamented the occasional disadvantages of being somebody else's 
son. Many other speakers followed; then came a poem written for 
the occasion by the versatile E. S. Rand, Jr., and then the sing- 
ing of Auld Lang Syne. 

Why should this occasion not have been what Wilder appar- 


ently expected, a revival of the old festivals? 2 It would perhaps 
have been as hard for the guests to answer the question as for 
us; and it is at least equally pertinent to ask why the old festivals 
were ever abandoned. The facts and figures connected with it 
were: expenses, $809.75, an d sale of tickets at two dollars each, 
$402 ; and the interpretation of them is revealed over a year later 
in Parkman's address in January, 1877: the dinner was regarded 
as an experiment, and its results were so unsatisfactory that it 
was not thought expedient to repeat it. All members and their 
families were invited to join in a dinner, the cost of which was 
borne mainly by the Society, the guests contributing but a frac- 
tion. To make it wholly free would have been an insupportable ex- 
pense; but so few applied for tickets that a failure would have 
resulted had not a considerable number been purchased and dis- 
tributed by a few individual members. 

The principal accession to the Library during 1875 was from 
the Cambridge Horticultural Society, which having decided to dis- 
pose of its library and put the volumes where they would do the 
most good, presented sixty-three volumes not possessed by the 
Massachusetts Horticultural Society. The purchase in the latter 
part of 1874 of the magnificent and rare Flora Danica had not 
only exhausted the funds for that year, but drawn heavily in ad- 
vance on those for 1875. E. S. Rand, Jr., again explained why 
sudden and practically irresistible demands on the funds were 
likely to be made if all the necessary books, which individuals 
could not afford, were to be on the shelves. And novv came, in the 
Library Committee's report, the first faint sound of a coming 
storm: the " want of increased accommodation was a serious ob- 
stacle to ready reference to many books " — a matter which " de- 
manded the early attention of the Society. " This was to increase 
and intensify for very many years ; but it finally did quite as much 
as any one other thing to move the Society on from those beauti- 
ful quarters which less than ten years ago C. M. Hovey had 
considered as large as the Society was ever likely to need. 

Financially conditions were good, considering the state of gen- 

2 Parkman " lacked the overflowing geniality and magnetism needed to set the 
social currents flowing in a large company, as well as the special talents required 
in a successful diner-out." Life of Francis Parkman, by C. H. Farnham. Quoted in 
Later Years of the Saturday Club, Howe, p. 23. 


eral business, — a fact upon which Governor Gaston had con- 
gratulated the Society at the dinner, and which was no doubt 
largely due to E. W. BuswelPs fidelity and skill. The mortgage 
debt had been reduced by $6000; thus it was now only $60,000; 
and the rent of the halls had increased by thirty-three per cent 
over 1874. Mount Auburn yielded only about $2962 because of 
late improvements there, of which the Society was obliged, as 
usual, to support a quarter of the cost. Death had taken Frederick 
Clapp and Henry Dutton, — the latter for nearly thirty-four 
years a helper of Hovey's with his Magazine of Horticulture, and 
chairman of the committee which had had charge of the building 
of the School Street Hall. 

President Parkman made no formal address at the meeting on 
New Year's Day of 1876. On December the nineteenth, 1874, 
a committee had been appointed to obtain a portrait of him; but 
using the discretion granted them they had obtained a bust, by 
Martin Milmore, which early in February, 1876, was placed in 
the room awaiting approval. The usual procedure had been, and 
continued to be, to obtain the portrait of a president upon his 
retirement; but the Society in this instance jealously and justly 
desired that Parkman's valuable services to horticulture should 
not be entirely eclipsed by his world-wide reputation as a his- 
torian. On New Year's Day of 1876 premiums for the year were 
voted: $3,200 for flowers, $2,100 for fruits, $1,200 for vegetables, 
and $300 each for gardens and greenhouses, publications and 
discussions, and the Library. As competition at the exhibitions 
had been thrown open to the public, so now were the meetings 
for discussion, with what result in both cases we shall soon see. 
The first was on January eighth, when N. Barnett read his prize 
essay on grape culture — the history of which, he claimed, went 
back at least to the time of Noah. The subject was resumed a 
week later, and was on each day followed by animated discussion 
in which Wilder was prominent. The next Saturday came a short 
discussion on a fine Loelia anceps, exhibited by E. S. Rand, Jr. 
A week and two weeks later the time was devoted to Wardian 
cases and ferneries; and later E. S. Rand, Jr., was called upon 
for information about orchids, A. P. Calder for forced lilacs, and 
James Comley for mushrooms, which last vegetable CM. Hovey 


considered " miffy," or supersensitive. A talk by E. W. Wood on 
the culture of foreign grapes in cold graperies further testified 
to the intense interest in the fruit by. inviting discussion as to 
how cheaper houses and management could be obtained. It is 
interesting to see with what fidelity to tradition almost every 
essay or lecture began as far back towards creation as the in- 
genuity of the author could reach; a result, perhaps, of the old 
custom of ending with a pious ascription of all things to the 
Deny, plus the perennial and praiseworthy desire on the part 
of all men to establish unquestionable antecedents. Much ground 
was covered on the nineteenth of February. The announcement 
was made of twenty-five dollars each for the best essay on the 
culture and the varieties of roses, the culture of flowers and foli- 
age for winter decoration, the culture of squashes and melons, 
the ripening and marketing of pears, and — most significant — 
the improvement and ornamentation of country roads. No paper 
was read, and the talk passed from a discussion of hybrid per- 
petual roses to the subject of old trees, suggested by the prostra- 
tion of the old elm on the Common by the gale of the fifteenth. 
Hovey remembered it when it had stood alone with a hundred 
cows resting in the shade of its broad branches, and suggested 
that a chair should be made from it for the President of the So- 
ciety. The Rev. A. B. Muzzey expressed fears for the Washing- 
ton Elm in Cambridge, but that was destined to live many years 
longer. The meeting on the next Saturday was also informal, — 
a discussion of the effects of the past winter, and talks on flow- 
ers, during which M. P. Wilder said that he was hurrying with 
his seedling azaleas and camellias, as he " couldn't expect to re- 
main here many years." On the eleventh of November he ex- 
hibited some only two years from the germination of the seed. 
Robert Manning was elected recording secretary, and a better 
never occupied the office. On the eighteenth of March the talk 
passed by way of John Robinson's lecture on the Society's her- 
baria, of which we have spoken, to the Library; and CM. Hovey, 
now no longer impeded by the robes of the presidential office, 
expressed himself freely on the matter of herbaria and books. 
He liked to be progressive, he said, but he thought the Society 
was inclined to divide its energies, and might come to grief, as 


the London Society had done. He prophesied that we should 
soon have more botanical books than could be accommodated — 
indeed, that we had too many already. He was as fond of books 
as anybody, and had more of them than of space in his own li- 
brary to accommodate them. Moreover, the Natural History So- 
ciety had a large herbarium not far away, and the Society should 
go into things that did not take too much room and money. E. S. 
Rand, Jr., of course would not stand this kind of talk, and re- 
torted that the Society should have all books and a complete 
herbarium, and that Mr. Hovey ought to give his superfluous 
books to the Library, and his herbarium too. Mr. Hovey, though 
not pleased with the application of his remarks, later said that he 
did not care how many books were bought, but that they all 
ought to be on horticulture. A review of the lectures during the 
year convinced the Committee that good and practical as they 
had been, an occasional one of scientific character should be 
given, in order to encourage more strictly scientific investigation. 
The opening of premiums to all comers did not increase the 
competition at the exhibitions of 1876; but if, as had been ex- 
pected, no change in the distribution of prizes resulted, at least 
any possible stigma of illiberality had been removed, which was 
what the Committee wanted. All shows of the year were success- 
ful, — that on August the fifteenth was the largest weekly one 
ever made — and were held in the Society's halls; the winter 
exhibitions especially were much larger than ever before. The 
cyclamen was not up to the standard of the past two years; but 
the pelargonium show, now one of the important ones, was a 
thorough success, largely through the efforts of an amateur, 
William Gray, Jr. Rhododendrons were attracting increasing 
interest through the example and prizes of H. H. Hunnewell, and 
E. S. Rand's Daisy Rand received the prospective prize. Moss 
roses were excellent — that rose which in his Book of Roses 
Parkman says " stands in tranquil defiance of the gay tide of 
innovation. Nothing can eclipse and nothing can rival her." Park- 
man's Lily had been considered in England the best ever raised : 
no flower from America had ever created such a sensation. This 
year it won a prospective prize. On the twelfth of February, E. S. 
Rand, Jr., exhibited a fine new cattleya, called Daisy; and the 


Hoveys presented a beautiful new lily. The roses were displayed 
to much better advantage this year by the use of boxes instead 
of bottles. At the annual exhibition flowers occupied the smaller 
hall, apples, pears, and vegetables the larger, and other fruits 
the Library. Fruits were favored in 1876 by the steadiness of the 
weather — a fortunate circumstance in a year of such great de- 
pression and want. Strawberries bore witness to improved facili- 
ties in transportation by appearing on the first of May, several 
weeks earlier than formerly; and at a much lower price, as was 
also the case with grapes. The apple exhibits were much above 
the late averages; C. C. Hamilton, of Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, 
sent a collection of thirty- two varieties. The pears were also 
favored by the weather, especially in quality; and the Commit- 
tee took occasion to remark that our finest pears, when cultivated 
in California, lost in flavor and gained in sweetness. Extraordi- 
narily fine Concord grapes were shown by Nathan Blanchard, 
and a most remarkable collection of seedling grapes, sixty-five 
varieties in all, by J. H. Ricketts at the annual exhibition. 
Oranges, bananas and lemons were shown; and M. P. Wilder 
took the prospective prize of fifty dollars for his seedling straw- 
berry, President Wilder. The vegetable department showed 
indisputably the best results ever recorded: the competition in- 
creased greatly, and the specimens nearly touched perfection. 
The improvement was due to the belated realization of the im- 
portance of pure and reliable seeds. The Emery tomato con- 
tinued to justify expectations; and the only fly in the ointment 
was an alarming increase of destructive insects. A new pest, the 
Colorado beetle, had appeared; and the Committee warned all 
cultivators that "eternal vigilance was to be the price of pota- 
toes next year." The Garden Committee made only two visits, 
one to Rand's greenhouse and graperies, and one to J. B. Moore's 
greenhouse, and in some alarm they pointed out that active com- 
petition had much to do with the success of any society. 

A contribution had, of course, been sent to the Centennial Ex- 
hibition, but only a few individuals and the active and influential 
Worcester County Horticultural Society took part. A hurried 
campaign resulted, however, in 863 dishes of pears, 214 of apples, 
and eighteen of grapes, — more than those shown at the annual 


exhibition. The number of dishes of pears exceeded that of all the 
other states together, and the Committee rejoiced in the inference 
that no other part of the country was so favorable to this fruit. 
The apples would have corresponded if the western part of the 
state had done its duty. The report on the Centennial Exhibition 
as a whole was that it had never been equalled in any country; 
there were 15,000 dishes of fruit, as against 6000 at the Pomologi- 
cal Society's exhibition at Chicago in 1875. Massachusetts had 
twenty- four contributors, of which Wilder with 300 dishes of 
pears and the Hoveys with 175 were the largest. Among curious 
exhibits were C. H. Allen's Orange pears from a tree 235 years 
old ; Ezekiel Doane's Fall pears from a tree planted by Governor 
Prince as early as 1650; and oldest of all, apparently, William 
Endicott's pears from the tree planted by his ancestor, Governor 
Endicott, in 1630. The Massachusetts Horticultural Society and 
the Worcester County Society both received awards for their 
large collections of apples and pears, and twenty individuals also 
were rewarded. 

E. S. Rand, Jr., with the sympathy and collaboration of Francis 
Parkman, had now, after the years of assiduous labor which we 
have followed, put the Library into the position of leader in the 
Country. In 1856 there was one case of books; and, with in- 
sufficient funds, it was not until the cultural books of no great 
money value had proved their usefulness, and Mr. Stickney had 
come to the rescue in 1869, that rare and expensive books could 
be acquired. The work of building up the Library demanded un- 
tiring attention, a knowledge of the value of books — which in 
itself is a profession — and constant acquaintance with the sales 
of libraries on both sides of the Atlantic. The Library owes much 
to Mr. Stickney; but there is no injustice to him in saying that its 
debt to E. S. Rand, Jr., and Francis Parkman is quite as large. 
And it was fortunate that so competent a librarian was at hand 
as E. W. Buswell, whose efficiency as Treasurer we have already 
seen, and who was now thanked by the Committee for his con- 
stant attention and uniform courtesy. There was now but that 
one cloud on the Committees' horizon — the serious want of 
room. Some additional space had been provided since last year; 
but they declared that soon the reconstruction of the library 


room would be imperative. Alas, they were destined to cry in 
vain for a quarter of a century before real relief came! In the 
long list of new acquisitions was a gift from William Gray which 
President Parkman pronounced the most valuable single work 
ever presented to the Society: Alphand's Les Promenades de 

At first glance the Treasurer's report for 1876 seemed some- 
what alarming, for $11,000 dollars had been borrowed on call; 
but an analysis of the unusual circumstances explained it. Less 
than $500 had been taken from the shows, for the rose show was 
free, and only twenty-five cents was charged at the annual exhibi- 
tion; the bust of Parkman and the portrait of Bigelow had cost 
$780; the prizes for 1876 — $6100 — were already provided for; 
and in the account with Mount Auburn, the Society was a debtor in 
the sum of about $2 590 because of necessary expenditures and lack 
of sales. Salaries to the Treasurer, the Secretary, and the chair- 
men of committees amounted to $3400, taxes $3429, insurance 
$1517.25, and stationery, etc., $1632.24. The income from the 
halls was $5563.60, and from the stores $12,433.28. The "hard 
times " also affected the membership — the largest number on 
record of subscription members had been discontinued for non- 
payment, and it was just as well that no dinner was attempted. 
There had also been seriously felt losses by death during the 
year, — George W. Pratt, one of the Society's original members, 
who had done much in the establishment of Mount Auburn, and 
who was the first to cultivate the dahlia in this country when 
introduced in its single form; Josiah Stickney, also deeply inter- 
ested in dahlia culture, and in pears, and the great benefactor of 
the Library; and John Fisk Allen, of Salem, the zealous cultiva- 
tor of grapes, and the first to introduce into the State the mag- 
nificent Victoria Regia. 

On the sixth of January, 1877, President Parkman found that 
the only shadow on the Society's prosperity was the deficit in the 
Treasurer's report; but comparing its affairs with those of other 
institutions in the present days of business depression, he found 
no cause for alarm if proper care were used. He saw the sig- 
nificance of the conspicuous improvement in the winter exhibi- 
tions: these had the advantage of being accessible to a class of 


people who were absent from town during the usual exhibition 

The first discussion was introduced by J. W. Pierce's prize 
essay on squash and melon culture. A week later, on the twen- 
tieth of January, came one of those lectures of " scientific char- 
acter " which the Committee had resolved to have occasionally, 
on fertilization and cross-fertilization, by Assistant Professor 
George L. Goodale, of Harvard, who had volunteered his services. 
It was doubtless interesting to the members to hear that no pro- 
fessional botanist, but the poet Goethe, had seen that many or- 
gans of a flower are modifications of the leaves, — as it was 
Goethe also, walking in the woods and seeing the skeleton of a 
deer, who first perceived that the skull was a " modification " of 
a vertebra. The next lecture, by B. D. Halsted of the Bussey In- 
stitution, dealt with a subject soon to attract wide-spread inter- 
est, Injurious and Other Fungi. For a proper knowledge of 
these curious things the public mind had as yet not even been 
cleared; and we are not surprised to find a whole period given 
up to a discussion of them on the third of March, with mush- 
rooms, of course, as the centre of interest. An essay by D. D. 
Slade on the improvement and ornamentation of suburban and 
country roads brought down wrath on the heads of road super- 
intendents: Mr. Strong said that as he drove into town that 
very morning his horse was so frightened by a heap of ashes on 
the roadside that he was " almost prevented from being present 
at the meeting." But it was Mr. Parkman, and not Mr. Strong, 
who had said two years before that the meetings were becoming 
too conversational. M. P. Wilder, always gently tolerant and 
optimistic, remarked that forty-five years before, the road from 
his house to the church was almost impassable in early spring. 
The next lecture was by B. P. Mann on entomology, a dread sub- 
ject to which all cultivators were obliged to give their attention 
on pain of ruin. Of the two hundred thousand known species of 
insects, thirty thousand were in this country, but only about two 
thousand so injurious as to be of importance. Most of them 
were imported and had driven out the native ones as easily as 
the foreign weeds had the indigenous and the white man the red 
man, — a painful analogy. 


The meeting of the seventeenth of February, on fertilization 
and cross-fertilization, is of the greatest interest to us because 
it shows how reluctantly the minds even of men who had so at- 
tentively observed nature's workings as our horticulturists had 
done could respond to Darwin's doctrine of evolution. The Origin 
of Species, published in 1859, and the Fertilization of Orchids 
three years later were sources of the influence which gave di- 
rection to the investigations and experiments of our horticul- 
turists; but the variation of Animals and Plants under Domesti- 
cation, in 1867, and above all the Descent of Man, in 1871, and 
the Effects of Cross and Self -Fertilization, in 1876, were too 
recent for many to grasp their full import. Surprise was expressed 
at certain of Professor Goodale's views as conflicting with Dar- 
win's doctrine of evolution. C. M. Hovey thereupon observed 
that with all the good Darwin had done, " his writings had been 
to some extent sensational." Professor Robinson declared that it 
was an outrage to apply such a word to the writings of such a 
man as Darwin; but J. B. Moore agreed that he was " sometimes 
romantic and fanciful," and quoted extensively to prove the 
point, — adding that he himself "did not believe anything he 
saw in a book unless it appeared reasonable to his own mind." 
W. C. Strong, who was chairman, replied that at least Darwin 
was an earnest seeker for facts; and CM. Atkinson, sorry also 
to hear anybody apply the word romantic to Darwin, maintained 
that with the same facts in regard to the subject under discussion 
Professor Agassiz would have come to the same conclusion as 
Darwin! Five years later — on the sixth of May, 1882, — we find 
M. P. Wilder moving that a committee be appointed to prepare 
a memorial of Charles Darwin: " It is now known throughout the 
civilized world that modern science has lost one of its most dis- 
tinguished promoters in the death of Dr. Charles Darwin, the 
friend of our Dr. Gray. Some notice should therefore appear on 
our records. As a progressive man in the study of the natural 
sciences . . . none was so high in the estimation of universities, 
academies, and scientific institutions. His works . . . present an 
immense number of facts ... by which the relations of animal 
and vegetable life are brought into harmony, constituting one 
grand system of organisms for the development and improve- 


ment of animal and vegetable life. No man since Thomas A. 
Knight and Dr. Lindley has done so much as a physiologist to 
advance the science of horticulture. Variations of species, upon 
which botanists formerly looked with indifference, in the hands 
of this practical horticulturist became the basis of the great the- 
ory of the improvement of everything which earth may produce." 
" Without giving an opinion in regard to the origin and progress 
of species," Wilder thought the world owed Darwin a debt of 
gratitude for facts on fertilization, hybridization of species and 
other things directly bearing upon the labors of the farmer in all 
future time; and ended with the quotation, " No more persuasive 
apostle of natural theology or more powerful advocate of the 
argument furnished by design and adaptation ever lived than 
Charles Darwin." It is an interesting study to see Darwinism, 
or evolution, working its way in such a mind as Wilder's; and 
what his " opinion on the origin and progress of species " was 
we may easily infer from his words at the meeting of March the 
third, 1883, which dealt with strawberries: " Improvement is the 
destiny of our race. The instincts of nature, whether we believe 
in evolution or not, are all in the line of improvement." The mo- 
tion was carried — though the record does not say "unani- 
mously " — and the committee appointed, Asa Gray, Wilder, and 
Charles S. Sargent, presented a memorial on the thirtieth of De- 
cember written by Gray. It of course showed full perception of 
what Darwin's work and methods meant, and ended with the 
words, " the interesting and important results thus obtained surely 
make it fitting that the Massachusetts Horticultural Society 
should pay a grateful tribute to the memory of Charles Darwin." 
A lecture on the twelfth of January, 1889, by Joseph Bourn, was 
profoundly " Darwinian " and illustrative of the revolutionizing 
of thought led by the great naturalist, doubtless without offence 
to the audience, for no " discussion " followed. But on the twenty- 
first of February, 1 891, no less a man than W. C. Strong asked the 
lecturer, Professor Ganong, whether the law of evolution was 
applicable to plants to increase their hardiness and to become in- 
ured to colder climate. 

On March the tenth a discussion of J. B. Moore's beautiful ex- 
hibit of hybrid perpetual roses became so engrossing that the 


subject for the day, Dr. Slade's prize essay on the improvement 
of suburban and country roads, was pushed ahead a week; but 
then Levi Stockbridge of the Massachusetts Agricultural College 
was in town, and this great opportunity of hearing an authority on 
manure in its correspondence to the composition of the plant 
which has been exhausting the soil could not be lost. The prize 
essay, after yielding precedence once more, this time to forced 
roses, was finally read and greatly appreciated on the last day of 

The early flower show in March followed the tendency of the 
winter exhibitions of the preceding years, and was much the best. 
Moore's display of hybrid perpetual roses was so splendid on the 
third and the tenth of March that, as we have seen, the " discus- 
sions " were deranged by it; and the cyclamens surpassed any 
ever seen before in the Hall. The Indian azaleas, at their special 
exhibition, were hardly up to the standard, in spite of Wilder's 
enthusiasm for them. H. Hollis Hunnewell's rhododendrons were 
superlatively magnificent — nothing like them had ever been seen; 
and the chrysanthemum show with H. L. Higginson's and CM. 
Atkinson's plants definitely assumed its place among the best. 
Cinerarias, in February, were the best presented for the last ten 
years. Ladies gave fine displays of bouquets, baskets of flowers, 
and table designs, and J. G. Barker, the Chairman of the Commit- 
tee, said that the names of Mrs. A. D. Wood, Mrs. S. Joyce, and 
Mrs. E. M. Gill were " sufficient guarantee of the character of the 
productions, which are always among the principal attractions of 
the exhibitions." Fruits fared well during 1877. M. P. Wilder and 
the Hoveys were still much interested, in spite of their years, and 
new enthusiasts were coming forward. There was a gratifying in- 
terest in originating new hybrid and other seedlings of different 
species which promised desirable new kinds. The large Belle 
strawberry won a prize for the best three quarts where all were 
good; cherries and currants were very much better than raspber- 
ries and blackberries. Apples, on this off year, were very poorly 
shown, — sixty- two dishes as against 176 the year before — and 
were outclassed by a collection sent again from the Fruit Growers 
Association and International Show Society of Halifax, Nova 
Scotia. Warren Fenno's Souvenir du Congres attracted much at- 


tention among the excellent and numerous pears of the usual kinds 
at the annual show; and Moore's early grape received this year 
the prospective prize. 140 exhibitors exhibited 852 dishes of fruit 
during the year, and $1624 was awarded in prizes. 3 The season 
favored vegetables most unusually. Peas and Lima beans were 
well shown; and potatoes, in spite of the beetle, were well repre- 
sented by fifty-nine dishes, as were tomatoes at the annual show 
by seventy-three. This year the sensible innovation was made of 
grouping the vegetables by kind instead of by ownership. The 
prospects for 1878, because of the hard times, were the cutting 
down of the prize list and the dropping of the November exhibi- 
tion; but these were expected to be only temporary necessities. 
There were four applications to the Garden Committee. One place, 
the City Hospital, had twice been visited in previous years, and 
this time the application was laid on the table while the Chairman 
was sent privately to see if a visit would be worth while. He went; 
and without even calling a meeting of the Committee, wrote in the 
report that there was " nothing to call forth much praise." At the 
hundred-acre estate in Lexington of Francis B. Hayes, which was 
entered for the Hunnewell triennial prize, they saw the mound 
where Samuel Adams and John Hancock had sat down on the 
nineteeth of April in 1776, and the former had prophetically ex- 
claimed, " Oh, what a glorious morning is this! " In September 
they saw Newton Cemetery, and were full of praise for Henry 
Ross, the superintendent's, correct taste in planting flower-beds 
and beautifying the grounds. The Library reported large increase 
of books and decrease of room, a situation which they hoped would 
be remedied, though the appropriation was necessarily cut down 
for the coming year. 

The decrease in membership from 1008 to 953 worried the 
Treasurer, who thought that the general business depression ac- 
counted somewhat for it, but that the opening of competition for 
prizes to the public accounted for it more. He had hoped that 
such a liberal course would bring more members, but there were 
fewer than for years past, and never in his experience had so 
many been discontinued for non-payment of dues ! He invited at- 

3 It was not until January 19, 1878, that the Secretary was officially required 
to keep a complete record of all awards, and chairmen to furnish them. 


tention to the subject, and " might have enlarged upon the avidity 
with which these outsiders had claimed their awards and other 
privileges, but he forebore." The only item of cheer that he could 
furnish was that with corporations crippled all around, only $1,000 
had been added to the Society's liabilities, and there had been a 
corresponding increase in assets. 

President Parkman, in his farewell speech of the fifth of Janu- 
ary, 1878, — for he was unable to accept re-election — acknowl- 
edged the spirit of patience and wisdom with which the restriction 
of income was accepted by the members, and declared that it 
insured its own reward. C. 0. Whitmore, Chairman of the Fi- 
nance Committee, was a man of solid ability, well fitted to conduct 
matters through the financial depression; and nearly three years 
later, in November, 1880, his portrait was placed in the Hall as 
evidence of how efficiently he did so. Mr. Parkman warmly com- 
mended the past year's exhibitions ; but he warned the Society of 
the danger of getting into ruts, and counselled the withholding of 
prizes, if necessary, unless objects were of positive merit and su- 
periority. There had been a tiresome routine in the exhibitions: 
prizes were taken by products which were neither better nor worse 
than they were four or five years ago. The new President, William 
Gray, Jr., followed the logical direction of Parkman's criticism by 
stating that his hearers' love of plants was stronger than their 
judgment, and that they tried to do too much. Specialize, he ad- 
vised them, as one must in any department of human endeavor; 
do one thing well. With their glass and coal and skill they could 
rival the tropics, but they were not doing so economically and to 
the best result. Affectionately he referred to his predecessor as a 
striking example of one whose life work was a specialty " pursued 
under difficulties that none could fully appreciate," 4 and called all 
to witness how easily Parkman had been first among his fellows in 
whatever he had undertaken. In Mr. Gray's words about financial 
matters we hear again the note of the former rugged generation. 
The enforced economy, he declared, showed how little of real hap- 
piness depended on what could be bought with money; it drove 
people back to elements of interest not suspected before, and 
might bring back, perhaps by hard experience, some of the old 

4 See also Yale Review, April, 1924. Physical infirmity is referred to. 


habits of thrift so much out of fashion of late. Salaries and prizes 
had had to be cut, — the latter to $4575 for the coming year; but 
even if the whole list had to be suspended, the exhibitions were not 
to be allowed to fall off. 

J. W. Pierce's prize essay on the ripening and marketing of pears 
was read on the twelfth of January, 1878, and was well discussed 
by M. P. Wilder, the " Nestor of pear culture," as somebody called 
him, and by Robert Manning and others. The subjects of Bottom 
Heat — its benefits and methods, and Garden Irrigation filled out 
the January days. The Culture and Varieties of Roses was the 
next theme; and then came three very absorbing informal discus- 
sions on fertilizers, in which experiences were reported and ques- 
tions asked and answered; though on the last day James Comley 
had to speak first of some fine roses exhibited by him. Rose cul- 
ture again came up for discussion in March, and this was fol- 
lowed by two sessions on small fruit culture. At the close of the 
series, on the thirtieth of March, the subject of fertilizers again 
arose, this time peat — a suggestive essay which brought up an- 
other phase of the fertilizer question, and caused Wilder to remark 
that W. C. Strong, the Chairman, had never done the Society a 
more beneficial service than when he had projected these lectures 
and discussions. 

On the second of March, 1878, a movement began which, 
through the enthusiasm of a very energetic woman, Mrs. Hen- 
rietta L. T. Wolcott, was eventually to open up a new field for the 
Society's influence. The Flower Committee and three ladies were, 
by request, made a special committee to fix and to award prizes 
for window gardening, by which it was hoped to cultivate a practi- 
cal taste for floriculture, especially among the children of the la- 
boring classes. The first meeting, held in the Library on March 
the seventh, began by investigating possible methods, and then 
prepared for prospective contestants a suitable list of plants not 
needing too much sunlight. To reach the children, a circular was 
sent to the pastor of every church hereabouts asking for his co- 
operation and that of a lady from his Sunday school. Plants were 
generously offered by H. Weld Fuller and Henry Rose. A few 
responses were received during June, more in the summer, and 
on the fourteenth of September the Lower Hall was opened for a 


special exhibition of about two hundred plants. Eighty-one dollars 
and twenty-eight cents was given in prizes and gratuities. Those 
who requested the formation of the Committee were described by 
Mrs. Wolcott as " not active members in this Society, but philan- 
thropists in the grandest sense." There is no doubt of the purpose, 
and indeed none of the ultimate results of this new interest; but 
the results of the following year were, through a combination of 
circumstances, unsuccessful, and nine years were to elapse before 
Mrs. Wolcott again undertook the work. 

The annual exhibition was especially notable for collections of 
fine plants, and was otherwise up to the standard; but for some 
unexplained reason, despite advertising and full newspaper no- 
tices, the public attendance was small. Maranta Massangeana, a 
highly commended new pot plant, was shown. The pelargonium 
show on the fourth of May was a complete failure, perhaps be- 
cause of ten days of dampness and then two of excessive heat. The 
roses were tolerably well shown, but not the perennial phloxes, be- 
cause of very wet weather just before the tenth of August. Pe- 
tunias and zinnias brought out good competition, and dahlias were 
excellent. The chrysanthemums on the ninth of November were 
also remarkably good, if not so numerous as last year; F. L. Ames 
showed a new variety, Nepenthes Chelsoni. At the annual show, 
J. F. M. Farquhar exhibited a new design for a garden, of five feet 
two inches by four feet nine, which, with some reservations as re- 
gards proportions and combination of colors, the Committee con- 
sidered tasteful. Rhododendrons, with the new Azalea mollis, were 
shown on the first of June by H. H. Hunnewell, though the prize 
for the best went to F. B. Hayes; and many exhibitors, especially 
F. L. Ames, pleased the Committee by their displays of orchids, 
which, as we have seen, were coming into their own. The Fruit 
Committee never omit their analysis of weather conditions, nor 
their deductions therefrom: this year they pronounced that a 
warm March and April were almost always followed by a cold 
May and perhaps June, injuring and destroying plants. The apple 
crop was large — there was no doubt that the superiority of the 
" even year " was a settled fact, and any Yankee who could change 
the bearing year of his orchards from even to odd would be shrewd. 
There were 374 dishes of pears at the annual show. Plums this 


year and last had been on the increase; and people who had fowl 
enclosures containing suitable ground were recommended to plant 
the trees in them and shake down the curculios regularly. The crop 
of grapes, even of Concords, was small; but it must have been satis- 
factory to the Committee to have the United States Commissioner 
of Agriculture come to them with an inquiry as to the cause of the 
grape rot. The leaves of all hybrids were injured most; and some- 
body remarked that by the laws of reproduction the defects of the 
parent are transmitted to the progeny. As for small fruits, the 
Committee recommended that in future all exhibits should be 
shown in baskets not exceeding an inch and three-quarters in 
depth. The gradual improvement in vegetables convinced the 
Committee that their advice about using pure and reliable seeds 
was being followed; and as the weather had been favorable, the 
general results — except in forced vegetables — were good, espe- 
cially in quality. Root crops were very nearly perfect; and in oth- 
ers there were some new varieties, one in rhubarb, the Monarch; 
many in peas ; and one in sweet corn. Tomatoes were splendid ; and 
I. P. Dickinson sent a collection of watermelons, " the best ever 
seen in our halls," noble specimens of over fifty pounds each, 
which took all prizes. The Garden Committee on May the twenty- 
fourth visited Charles S. Sargent's hundred and thirty acres in 
Brookline — not to view it as a competitor for a prize, but to re- 
port on a beautiful place annually open to the public through the 
owner's kindness. It was a fine example of what taste should be, 
with its azaleas, rhododendrons and palms resplendent with bloom 
and rich with foliage, exhibited under a large tent, the mecca of 
thousands annually. On the day of the visit to President Gray's 
" Hermitage," likewise not entered for a premium, a cold rain was 
falling, and we find a " goodly gathering of the veterans of the 
Society " in front of a good fire of hickory logs, with boxes of roses 
adorning the room. After a " bountiful collation " the rain stopped, 
and the veterans visited the great tent in which were palms, ferns 
and other plants, and then the roses. A month later they were ex- 
amining a very different place, the two-acre garden of William 
Doran and Son, which sufficed with its grapes and small fruits to 
support his family, and won a gratuity as a token of appreciation 
of its owner's perseverance. There were thirty in the company 


which visited Francis B. Hayes' estate in Lexington on the ninth 
of August, ona" boisterous and rainy " day; and when a mile 
from any shelter, a terrific rain and hail storm burst upon them, 
" completely putting a damper on their spirits for the time being," 
as the report temperately expresses it. This second year of com- 
petition for the Hunnewell triennial premium found Hayes' estate 
improved by a change of position of the rhododendron beds, and 
by many acquisitions of fine azaleas and other plants, all giving 
evidence of unremitting care. 

Waldo 0. Ross, who had two years before taken Rand's place 
as Chairman of the Library Committee, declared that more space 
for books had simply got to be had — and more books. The Stick- 
ney fund could be used to purchase books on the care and study 
of forest trees, — the threatening extermination of which was 
becoming an acute matter; but periodicals, heretofore handed on 
to other societies, were now to be kept and bound, and for this the 
fund could not be touched. The Davenport fern case had been 
added to, and was now one of the most complete collections of 
American ferns in existence. The Committee complained somewhat 
bitterly that the library room was becoming general headquarters 
for the managers of the miscellaneous exhibitions which visited 
Boston, and that the loud conversation and the passing to and fro 
were a nuisance; but E. W. Buswell said, though with full sym- 
pathy, that there was no help unless the Society could get along 
without renting the halls. 

Buswell was plainly depressed by the financial outlook at the 
opening of the year 1879, which in spite of the strictest economy 
would have been still worse if $2511.13 had not been received 
from the B. V. French estate. Mount Auburn had yielded only 
$1679.68. Moreover, the membership had fallen from 953 to 900; 
and though this might have been caused somewhat by business 
conditions, Buswell repeated that it was due to the pernicious by- 
law which permitted outsiders to compete for prizes. Consider- 
ing that the Library was and always had been free for consulta- 
tion and that fifty members were discontinued for non-payment of 
dues, we must reluctantly agree with him. During the year the 
death of Cheever Newhall had occurred. He was one of the Soci- 
ety's founders and incorporators, and its first treasurer; and John 


B. Russell, of Newmarket, New Jersey, was now the only survivor 
of the eight men named in the charter. Another loss was by the 
death of Captain William R. Austin, a former treasurer, and for 
many years on various committees. His business qualifications had 
been of great service at the building of the present Hall; and in 
horticulture too he had served well, having originated the well- 
known method of training pear trees in vase or wine-glass form. 

The season of 1878 was the Society's fiftieth; but the semi- 
centennial was not celebrated until the twelfth of September in 
1879. It had been planned to come with the June exhibition, but 
an accident to M. P. Wilder, who was to deliver the address, made 
postponement desirable until the autumn. In January, 1879, the 
lectures began with a paper by Josiah W. Talbot on the influ- 
ence of the Stock upon the Graft — a long-neglected theme, 
which called forth much debate and controversy, and was con- 
tinued through two more sessions during January, with much dis- 
cussion. Robert Manning on the first of February read a paper on 
the grafting of the gooseberry on the Missouri currant. A lecture 
the next week by Dr. William G. Farlow, Professor of Crypto- 
gamic Botany at Harvard, on the diseases of forest trees caused 
by fungi was Illustrated by colored diagrams. This subject, as we 
have seen, engaged the efforts of the Library Committee to pro- 
cure the necessary books. The prize essay on the cultivating and 
marketing of apples was read by J. W. Pierce, and contained 
besides instruction a sketch of the history of the apple, after which 
Wilder observed that American apples were preferred in England 
to French and Italian ones, and that New England's were better 
than those of the western states. The subject was continued a week 
later, much attention being given to the possible ways of changing 
the bearing year of apples — for the Fruit Committee's sugges- 
tion had been very appealing; and a committee was appointed to 
inquire into the general subject of apple culture and the export 
trade. Early in March, W. C. Strong read a paper on roses, the 
specialty of the florists, which were in greater demand than all 
other flowers combined, and said that a knowledge of the vast 
advance in hardy hybrids during the last thirty years had hardly 
extended beyond the limits of the trade. Wilder, who always 
brought a memorandum-book to the meetings and usually was 


noting something new in it, urged Strong to continue the talk the 
next week; but Strong being unable to do so, close discussion of 
the subject filled the hour at that meeting. On March the twenty- 
second it would have continued; but Wilder was absent, having 
met with a severe accident on the previous afternoon, to the great 
distress of everybody, and the talk drifted to apples. It was nearly 
a year and a half before Mr. Wilder appeared again at a regular 
meeting. The interest roused in rose culture was such that by pri- 
vate subscription, through the suggestion and efforts of C. M. 
Atkinson, six small silver cups and one large one were offered at 
the rose show in June. The report of the Committee on apple cul- 
ture was read on the twenty-ninth of March, by E. W. Wood. He 
regarded this fruit as second in importance only to the grass and 
grain crops, and said that less care was required than for any other 
fruit. By removing the fruit buds from the young trees on the even 
year, some cultivators had obtained full crops on the odd; but on 
the even year enterprising dealers could export them — from the 
first of September, 1878, to March the first, 1879, 316,327 barrels 
had been shipped out of Boston. The present difficulty was to get 
proper transportation — dealers often had to stow the fruit with 
mixed freight or with live stock and grain; but apples ought to be a 
profitable crop, and if proper care were exercised, the transporta- 
tion problem would solve itself. The upshot of the talks on apples 
was that proper efforts had not been made with one of the most 
profitable of New England products, — a text which was to be 
preached upon again and again. 

Radical alterations in the prize schedule were made in 1879: 
there were to be gratuities, but no prizes, at the weekly shows, and 
only $3050 had been appropriated. The azalea and rose show came 
on the nineteenth of March, with an exhibition of both flowers 
from the " venerable and ever enthusiastic Marshall P. Wilder," 
and camellias from the Hoveys, cyclamens from G. B. Gardiner, 
and again some orchids. On the seventh of June, F. B. Hayes, 
H. Hollis Hunnewell, and John L. Gardiner sent rhododendrons, 
Hayes' collection in Lexington being probably the best in the 
country. H. H. Hunnewell, as usual, did not compete for prizes. 
The special silver cups spoken of above were an unusual stimulus 
at the rose show on the twenty-first of June. Three of the small 


ones were for three, six, and twelve roses of one variety; three 
for the same numbers of different varieties ; and the large cup for 
the best twenty-four varieties with three specimens of each, — 
this cup to be held by the winner for three consecutive years be- 
fore becoming his property. It was won by William Gray, Jr., in 
1 88 1, for seventy-two as superb roses as were ever seen in the 
Hall. The annual exhibition on the ninth and through the twelfth 
of September was probably the best ever made in regard to 
choice plants; and the chrysanthemum show also, in November, 
was, if not the largest, one of the best in quality ever made. The 
impromptu exhibitions were the more commendable because of 
the zeal shown despite the absence of prizes. In December, P. B. 
Hovey was awarded the prospective prize of forty dollars for his 
seedling lily, Hoveyi, and CM. Hovey that of sixty dollars for his 
camellia Anne Marie Hovey. With fruits, the plan of five prize 
days during the year and no prizes at the Saturday shows cut off 
from premiums those varieties whose time of maturity or perfec- 
tion was not covered by the five days. The exhibitions of small 
fruits were much affected by these considerations, even and indeed 
especially those of strawberries. At the annual show, the display 
was as usual excellent, especially of pears. Apples, as the discus- 
sions have prepared us to expect, fell off considerably in number; 
but plums were still improving in spite of the black knot and the 
curculio. A cold, late spring; June and July favorable enough, ex- 
cept for a heavy hailstorm on July the sixteenth which smashed 
greenhouses; a hot September until the very end when heavy 
frosts came; and an early snow-fall, did not combine well with but 
five regular shows to help the prospects of the vegetable depart- 
ment; and in answer to the prayers of the committees, prizes were 
restored for the weekly shows in 1880. The Vegetable Committee 
reported further lessening of interest in forced vegetables. The 
best show of the season was that of the twenty-first of June ; peas 
were excellent, and Potter's Excelsior sweet corn was unanimously 
reported as being without a superior. The Garden Committee twice 
visited F. B. Hayes' place at Lexington, "Pine Hill," which now 
received the Hunnewell triennial prize. About fifty people besides 
the Committee visited it on the twentieth of August, and expressed 
great admiration for the rhododendrons, the beautiful vistas being 


opened, the good cheer and hospitality, and the very evident en- 
thusiasm and perseverance of the proprietor. The Editor of the 
American Cultivator was one of the guests, and reported that 
here " men of different years and positions and tastes in other mat- 
ters met together in common, and claimed friendship over those 
beautiful things for which they had the same love." 

The Library had pursued its plan of buying every work on the 
culture and management of forest trees; a bulletin of new books 
was kept posted, and a blank-book was ready for suggested pur- 
chases. The not unnatural result was that in spite of temporary 
and partial relief by the addition of two new cases, some books 
were stored in the Library, some in the janitor's room, and some 
in an up-stairs closet. How many were packed in behind the front 
rows on the shelves, nobody knew. Locks had been put on the 
doors of some cases, and the books in these were considered 
" comparatively safe." The Committee could only point out 
that the Library could not under the conditions function prop- 
erly, and that matters must soon be taken in hand by an expert. 
They did not, however, intend to allow these disadvantages to in- 
terfere with growth, and even suggested that a card catalogue 
should be made, — perhaps an impracticable matter under the con- 
fused conditions, but splendid evidence of their courage. And we 
must not forget the " loud talking " and " passing to and fro " 
complained of in vain. 

The great event of the year was, of course, the celebration of 
the Society's semi-centennial anniversary on Friday, the twelfth of 
September, 1879. The arrangements were in charge of President 
William Gray, Jr., Marshall P. Wilder, William C. Strong, and the 
Committee of Arrangements for the annual exhibition. Invita- 
tions were sent to Governor Thomas Talbot; Mayor Frederick O. 
Prince; Charles L. Flint, Secretary of the State Board of Agricul- 
ture; Thomas Motley, President of the Massachusetts Society for 
Promoting Agriculture; Robert C. Winthrop; John C. Gray, one 
of the first board of vice-presidents; Asa Gray; Rev. William W. 
Newton and Rev. A. B. Muzzey; the four surviving founders of 
the Society, John B. Russell of Newmarket, N. J.; Andrews Breed, 
of Lancaster; Henry A. Breed, of Lynn; and John M. Ives, of 
Salem; and the presidents of the eighteen existing state horticul- 


tural societies of the Union. Two of the four surviving founders 
of the Society, Russell and Ives, were able to be present. Seats were 
arranged in the Upper Hall, and the exercises, which began at 
three o'clock, consisted of music by the Germania band; prayer by 
the Chaplain, Mr. Muzzey; again music; the oration of the day, 
by Marshall P. Wilder; music; the singing of Auld Lang Syne by 
everybody; and the Benediction. At five o'clock a subscription din- 
ner for members and invited guests was held at Young's Hotel. 

M. P. Wilder had not been seen in public by his associates since 
his accident, and was received with the utmost affection and en- 
thusiasm. We need not follow his intensely interesting and well- 
digested account of the Society's past work: his age, ability, ex- 
perience, dignity and character insured its excellence, and his 
breadth of interests and perspective guaranteed its accuracy; but 
we must not omit the occasional bits of information in the nature 
of sidelights. John Lowell he considered stood at the head of the 
horticulture of the State in 1829. To H. A. S. Dearborn he believed 
the Society owed its prestige and popularity both here and abroad 
in its early history; and as preeminent in horticulture he men- 
tioned Robert Manning, " the great leader and reformer of Ameri- 
can pomology "; Samuel Downer, always on the alert for new 
fruits; the Kenricks, the Winships, John Prince, Enoch Bartlett, 
Elias Phinney, George W. Pratt, B. V. French, Aaron D. Weld, 
Aaron D. Williams and David Haggerston. He remembered that 
in 1830, when women's rights were incidentally discussed on a 
proposition to elect as honorary members Mrs. Governor Gore, 
Mrs. Dix and Mrs. Griffith of New Jersey, all known for their 
zeal in forwarding the objects of the Society, some of the members 
thought it of doubtful expediency, because a woman in the garden 
made great trouble as long ago as the days of Adam. General Dear- 
born silenced all cavillers, however, and the ladies were admitted. 
About 1845, when the enthusiasm for the hybridization of plants 
was at its height, he recalled that two hundred and fifty dollars was 
paid for a plant of Camellia Floyii, and ten guineas for one of the 
Hope dahlia. In telling of the later days, he noted the results of 
the introduction of new varieties of pelargoniums, coleus, achyran- 
thes, centaurea and other species in the development of carpet and 
ribbon gardening, which gave a brilliancy and richness unknown 


before; and to sub-tropical gardening, with the palms, tree-ferns, 
agaves, musas, dracaenas, caladiums and others he attributed the 
" refined and distinguished air " characteristic of the present. In 
landscape gardening, horticulture had become a fine art. In clos- 
ing his address with the solemn remark that the sun was sinking 
fast for many of the company, he welcomed those who were to suc- 
ceed them; not with complaining or egotism or in the manner of 
the laudator temporis acti, but with a youthful enthusiasm for new 
things and a tone not of regret but of happy gratitude and trust. 

In the evening the members and their guests met in a reception- 
room at Young's Hotel, and after an hour of chatting, sat down to 
dinner. President Gray, because of indisposition, retired when the 
cloth was removed, and Vice-President Charles H. B. Breck intro- 
duced Samuel H. Wales, President of the Rhode Island Horticul- 
tural Society, as the representative of sister states. Mr. Wales 
credited the Massachusetts Society not only with the results of its 
own efforts in horticulture, but with the encouragement through 
which other states had formed similar organizations. John B. 
Russell, the last survivor of those who took an active part in 
organizing the Society, told memories of the early days, and left 
a word for us of the present: " It is not unlikely that some of the 
younger members here may live to attend the Centennial of the 
Society in 1929. If so, may they remember the labors of its 
pioneers in its day of small things, as well as the magnificent re- 
sults after Colonel Wilder was chosen its president in 1840. . . . 
May its success in the next fifty years be as much beyond our an- 
ticipations today as its present achievements are beyond the con- 
ceptions of its founders." As William C. Strong said a moment 
afterwards, perhaps a later generation was in a better position to 
appreciate the labors of the pioneers than they were themselves ; 
and he added, Remember what wonders remains to be done: let 
us see to it that " their trophies do not permit us to sleep." If these 
beloved veterans could have been in the crowd which flowed like 
a ceaseless river through Mechanics' Hall for five days in March, 
1929, would they have said "Well done?" The next speaker, 
Benjamin P. Ware, President of the Essex Agricultural Society, 
was so glad to find himself in such a company that " as I live," he 
cried, " I'll be present at the next semi-centennial! " But accord- 


ing to Henry W. Fuller, the next speaker, and one of the late 
vice-presidents, the age was already the most marvellous that ever 
had been. Days were melted into hours by rapid transit; oranges 
and lemons were as cheap as apples. " What would our fathers 
have thought, in our youth," he continued, " of some of our ocean 
steamers, measuring as many thousand tons as the ships of fifty 
years ago did hundreds, and crossing the ocean in one-third of the 
olden time, not only without wind, but often against the wind? 
. . . Now we call the sun from the heavens to copy any object 
with a truth and exactness which no human hand can approach. 
Can fairy fingers do better work than our daguerreotypes, helio- 
types, and electrotypes? . . . When Franklin first brought down 
the lightning, what a sensation passed over the civilized world. But 
now ... we rap upon our tables, and our orders go across and 
under the ocean to India, China, Japan, and in an hour the an- 
swer comes. Your cargoes are engaged and orders filled." But Mr. 
Ware was speaking in no boastful spirit. " Take courage from the 
past," he continued; " every individual is bound to do something 
for his race, ... all progress is the result of individual enter- 
prise; no man liveth to himself. The steps already taken are helps 
to further advancement, and I hope we may use them as such, so 
that when the next half of the century shall be complete, our suc- 
cessors may rejoice as we have rejoiced, in contemplation of work 
well done." Truly, it is the first step that costs; and it may be that 
future success depends more than we know on our appreciation 
of that spirit which we have heard reverently and faithfully calling 
across the century. " After me cometh a builder — tell him I, too, 
have known." 

Samuel B. Parsons, Samuel Downer, the Rev. A. B. Muzzey, 
Charles M. Hovey, and Francis B. Hayes were the other principal 
speakers. " I may be permitted," said Mr. Hayes, " to speak of 
one who is necessarily absent from this pleasant meeting. I know 
you will all unite with me in wishing a much longer life of happi- 
ness to him who is the connecting link between the past and the 
present, — the upright merchant, the doctor of philosophy who is 
in active sympathy with all students in their scientific pursuits, the 
wise legislator, who has presided with dignity and ability over the 
higher branch of the Legislature of this Commonwealth, the zeal- 


ous lover of historical research, who is at the head of the New Eng- 
land Historic-Genealogical Society, the eminent pomologist and 
florist, the distinguished ex-President of our Society, the octo- 
genarian orator of the day, — the Honorable Marshall P. 
Wilder." Of those who were unable to attend the banquet, two — 
the presidents of the New York and the Iowa Horticultural Soci- 
eties, — expressed their regrets in terms which indicate that upon 
one matter at least opinions resembled those of today. The former 
hoped that "members of all horticultural societies would unite 
upon such a display of the beautiful, accompanied with music, as 
will be an attraction to the family home, and leave bad rum to per- 
ish by the wayside. I believe that if a taste for the beautiful could 
be cultivated to its highest extent, thousands of young men now 
on the road to ruin might and would be saved. The love of the 
Beautiful, as presented in the Flower and its accompaniment, 
Music, is antagonistic to the use of the pistol and the knife." The 
President of the Iowa Society said that his unfinished young state 
was too full of hard work for him to come, but added, " You de- 
serve your banquet. I wish you the happiest of reunions, the 
brightest of wit, and the best of wines." Many others could not 
be present at the banquet, including Governor Talbot, Mayor 
Prince, Thomas Motley, Asa Gray, John C. Gray, and Andrews 
Breed; but Henry A. Breed was there, — aged eighty-one years 
and five months — and told the company that he had joined the 
Society in June, 1829, built the first greenhouse in Lynn, and 
helped set out the first shade trees in the streets — since when he 
had opened and graded thirty-four streets at his own expense. Mr. 
Breed lived until June, 1887, — further evidence of the apparent 
longevity of horticulturists, which the more carefully kept necrolo- 
gies of later years seem to corroborate. 

At a business meeting on September the sixth, 1879, attention 
was called to the matter of subscribing for the History of the So- 
ciety, by Robert Manning. The volume had not yet appeared, for 
it was to include an account of the semi-centennial celebration. 
A week later a vote was passed on a matter which would have 
touched the welfare of the Society more closely than the enthusi- 
astic celebrants realized if it had stood. The Nominating Commit- 
tee said they wished to popularize the elections, and to honor 


members of the Society who had labored in its behalf ; and they 
therefore recommended that in the selection of a candidate for 
president, the Committee should not be bound by the former 
precedent of selecting such candidate from the list of vice-presi- 
dents. It was also voted upon the motion of the same member — 
C. 0. Whitmore — that the Chairman should be requested to 
recommend in his report that in future the president and vice- 
presidents be ineligible for more than one re-election. In 1881, the 
second vote was rescinded, on the motion of the ever-reliable 
William C. Strong. 

E. W. Buswell could, in January, 1880, report no further pay- 
ment on the mortgage: it was still sixty thousand dollars. The 
finances had not been self-sustaining by a large amount. $2212.14 
had been received from Mount Auburn, and $2675 paid in sala- 
ries; the halls were in demand, but necessarily at reduced rates, 
and the membership had fallen again, from 900 to 857. Among the 
losses by death was Dr. Jacob Bigelow, the oldest member of the 
Society, its first corresponding secretary, and the projector of 
Mount Auburn. To him the Cemetery owed the designs of the 
gateway, the fence, the chapel and the tower. Eminent in his pro- 
fession and in science generally, he had been President of the 
Massachusetts Medical Society, and President of the American 
Academy of Arts and Sciences, and had had a share in the found- 
ing of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His Flora Bosto- 
nienis and American Medical Botany were among the most accur- 
ate works on their subjects. Other eminent members who had died 
were John M. Merrick; James Cruickshanks ; Cheever Newhall 
— one of the founders and the first treasurer; Josiah Newhall, 
one of the original members; and William R. Austin, the Treasurer 
from 1849 to 1866. It is both touching and amusing to see the older 
men holding up their dead comrades as examples for emulation to 
the younger members of the Society. 

Chapter XII • 1 880-1 884. F. B. HAYES'S 

PRESIDENT WILLIAM GRAY, JR., in his farewell address 
on the third of January, 1880, summarized his two years 
of office as uneventful, except for the semi-centennial. 
Real estate was always the last to recover from a financial depres- 
sion, but the rent of the halls might be expected shortly to improve. 
He hoped that an addition might soon be made to the Library, 
and remarked that here was an excellent opportunity for a bene- 
factor. Francis B. Hayes, the new President, was not disposed 
to be pessimistic. The financial resources in invested property 
he said were larger than those of any horticultural society in the 
world. Mount Auburn, the National Pomological Society, and 
to some extent Harvard's arboretum were offspring of the Society. 
It was striking how well our exhibitions had been supported, 
with reduced prizes, as compared with those of other societies 
which realized larger sums through assessments and contributions; 
but it would be well to avoid excessive frugality. He repeated 
the advice of Francis Parkman, that each man should do one 
thing well, and thereby improve every department of the Society. 
Before the inaugural meeting was over $3050 was appropriated 
for prizes for 1880; the thirty dollars income of the Whitcomb 
fund was added to the appropriation for vegetables; and ex- 
President Gray reported — most unselfishly — from the Executive 
Committee that until finances warranted, no plate or other 
testimonials should be given to out-going officials. 

A week later the discussions began with the subject of the 
cultivation of the cypripedium and the eucharis — a reaction from 
the exhibitions — which was opened by Joseph Tailby. On the 
seventeenth a prize essay was read by the author, Samuel Powers, 
Jr., The Most Promising New, Hardy, Ornamental Trees and 
Shrubs, and their Tasteful and Effective Arrangement, — also a 
timely commentary. His method was to picture for his hearers a 
cottage with lawns and a stream, and to stroll from one point to 


another and comment on the possibilities. H. W. Sargent of Fishkill 
was present, and, at the request of Chairman W. B. Strong, also 
spoke; and at the next meeting certain of the especially interesting 
trees were further discussed. On the last day of January occurred 
the first instance in the Society's history of the reading of a paper 
by a lady, — Mrs. C. N. S. Horner, of Georgetown, Massachu- 
setts; and there was, of course, an unusual number of ladies 
present for the occasion. Mrs. Horner acquitted herself excellently 
on her subject of native plants, of which she had already made 
some excellent exhibits. She spoke from practical knowledge of 
the plants growing spontaneously around us, which she knew 
from her visits with book and microscope to the fields and wood- 
lands, and she believed that many of them would compare favor- 
ably with many of those cultivated in our gardens; indeed, in a 
collection of pressed specimens from the mountains and canyons 
of Colorado she had recognized some of our garden flowers, such 
as delphinium, chrysanthemum, coreopsis, aquilegia, and phlox. 
In the appreciative discussion which followed, Mr. Hitchings 
said that he had found flowers in blossom every month in the 
year, and that he disagreed with Colonel Higginson's statement 
that " after exhausted October has effloresced into witch-hazel 
there is an absolute reserve of blossom until the alders wave 
again." At the next meeting a prize essay on the subject of the 
profits of farming and gardening in New England was read by its 
author, William D. Philbrick, and showed clearly the results of 
improved transportation upon New England's possibilities. By 
the time our early strawberries, peas, and even potatoes reached 
the market, it had already been filled from the South; and thus 
farmers were driven to the production of fresh, perishable goods 
— milk, eggs, lettuce, celery, — or to bulky ones, such as cab- 
bages, rhubarb, and spinach. Experiments were being made in 
Maine with beet sugar. Grapes were not so much in favor as 
formerly, because of competition from the lake shores of New 
York State. The discussion which followed was, of course, at- 
tracted almost entirely to the novelty — the cultivation of beet 
sugar. The next meeting covered a wide range of subjects, the 
tomatoes and mushrooms which C. H. Brackett had on exhibition, 
a rose shown by the Chairman, and then the possibilities of profit 


in small fruit culture — in which great hopes were expressed in 
regard to Cuthbert and Brandywine raspberries. The meeting on 
February the twenty-first concerned the Library, for which 
William E. Endicott made a strong and reasonable plea by means 
of facts and descriptions which we have already used in our nar- 
rative. The next discussion was on the subject of peat and peat 
lands, of which it had just been estimated by Professor Hitchcock 
in his geological report that there were eighty thousand acres in 
Massachusetts, — a fact which Mr. Strong thought so important 
that it ought to have drawn interest before this. The subject was 
carried over into the next meeting, when after a slight digression 
on the " Tailby stock " for roses, it developed into a general 
talk on cranberry culture. The session of the sixth of March, 
opened by Dr. E. L. Sturtevant, was on the influence of the stock 
on the scion and vice versa, — the subject which had proved so 
interesting a year ago that there had been an unusually wide call 
for the Transactions which contained it, — a fact which led Dr. 
Sturtevant to remark that in the course of a year there was enough 
matter in the discussions to form a publication valuable to science 
and " honorable " to the Society. It was continued on March 
the thirteenth, and brought out long and searching talks, earnest 
interest, and some impatience; but the conclusion was that the 
evidence was not enough on either side, — that is, for or against 
any influence whatever. In view of the evident warmth of the 
discussion, it is interesting to note that at the final meeting of the 
season, on March the twentieth, the best method of conducting 
the meetings for discussion was considered. Mr. Wetherell held 
that no debater had the right to quote from a private conversation, 
and that all personalities and personal reflections should be 
avoided! He also felt that there was jealousy in all professions, 
and that lecturers should be selected who understood their sub- 
jects, — not those who came there to advertise their goods. Mr. 
Moore and Mr. William H. Hunt agreed that speakers should 
hold to their subjects, and avoid personalities; but Mr. Strong 
explained that it was by no means easy to obtain speakers before- 
hand. Mr. Moore thereupon said that in any case, no reflection 
was intended on the Committee — than which none could be 
better — and that great credit was due to the Chairman, W. R. 


Strong. Thus matters ended happily. We find in the Transactions 
for the year miscellaneous papers on such matters as seedless 
fruits, and the dates of flowering of trees and shrubs in eastern 
Massachusetts in 1880, — doubtless put there in accordance 
with the suggestion of Dr. Sturtevant, who himself wrote the first. 
In October, 1879, the Prize Committee had been asked to 
consider a spring show of bulbs ; and the Flower Committee again 
received the small silver cups for special rose prizes, — though 
at the June show the warm weather had demoralized the flowers 
badly. Experience had commended the wisdom of returning to 
the system of weekly prize exhibitions, even though the prizes 
were smaller; for it had been gratifying to find that a prize was 
regarded as much more valuable than a like or even larger sum 
as a gratuity. For 1880 $3050 had been voted. The year was 
notable for an increase in the exhibits of choice and rare plants. 
Mr. Wilder was the only contributor of Indian azaleas on the 
thirteenth of March. John L. Gardner's exhibit of hyacinths was 
splendid; and at the rhododendron show the Hunnewell collection, 
though not competing, was as gorgeous as usual. The annual 
exhibition in September showed such grand specimens of plants 
that the Committee began to consider having two classes, one for 
the larger and more remarkable specimens, and another for the 
smaller grades. Unusually fine weather brought an excellent at- 
tendance on the tenth of November to see the chrysanthemums, 
which were now beginning to attract the public strongly. Joseph 
Tailby showed again his seedling carnation, Grace Wilder, en- 
tered for the prospective prize of forty dollars, which was voted 
to it in January of the next year. Gladioli were no longer very 
numerous. In the middle of July, Mrs. Horner gave one of her 
best exhibitions of native flowers, all of which were carefully 
named. Long continued alternating periods of heat and dryness 
had among the fruits hurt some and helped others: strawberries 
were earlier, but below standard; cherries good; currants very 
fine; and raspberries affected by the previous winter. The only 
new and worthy variety of the last was Strong's new Black Cap, 
Gregg. The Dorchester blackberry took all prizes. Plums were 
continuing to increase, but the Committee was still very anxious 
for some remedy for the black wart. Peaches, also, had greatly 


improved, — the two of Crawford's, and " Stump the World." 
Because of the long, dry season no worry arose about the matur- 
ing of the grapes; and Mr. Wilder, as enthusiastic as in his 
younger days, sent a new seedling white, a cross between the 
Massasoit and the Queen of Nice. For apples the year 1880 was 
long memorable: large and beautiful, they were so abundant 
that it hardly paid to pick them. Anybody could have them for 
the trouble of gathering, yet many lay rotting under the trees. 
For fruits, $845 was awarded and the Committee regretted its 
inadequacy. The Vegetable Committee also approved the return 
to weekly prize shows; and suggested that as the growing of 
vegetables under glass was being neglected, the income of the 
Whitcomb fund should next year be devoted to it. But the season 
was favorable, and the progress was encouraging. On the last 
day of January, and again in March, J. B. Moore brought the best 
mushrooms ever seen on the tables; and at the annual exhibition 
the potatoes also were never excelled. A new seedling late potato 
called the Pride of America, from E. S. Brownell of Vermont, 
was regarded as most promising. The Garden Committee sadly 
announced " no competition " for the year, but pointed to the 
year 1864 as precedent, and had faith that interest would revive, 
as it had done then. 

William E. Endicott, Chairman of the Library Committee, 
reported some long-hoped-for alterations to relieve the congestion 
of books, but was again obliged to ask for a card catalogue of the 
colored plates, and again in vain: PritzelFs Index still had to 
suffice. He announced the purchase of Reichenbach's great work 
on the plants of Central Europe, in twenty-two volumes, with 
colored figures of all species, and the Aroideae Maximilianae, a 
splendid work in folio with magnificent plates. Books had been 
bought to meet the interest in the sugar beet, and on the preserva- 
tion of crops in a green state by the " new process called ensilage." 
But the most interesting volume of the year to the Society was 
the History of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, 1829- 
1878, by Robert Manning. The author was exceptionally well 
fitted for his task. Son of one of the founders who, as we have 
heard M. P. Wilder say, was one of the great pomologists of the 
country, not only was he himself the worthy successor of his 


father in horticulture, but as a member of the Society since 1848 
he was in almost daily touch with men who had known its history 
since the beginning. Of untiring industry, and with a reverence 
for the Society which almost amounted to religion; penetrating, 
accurate, and almost over-conscientious; he produced a volume 
which Parkman called an embodiment of a vast amount of in- 
formation, a minute record of the Society's history, and an im- 
portant contribution to American horticulture. The present 
writer, who has been through the sources from which the book's 
materials were taken, is perhaps alone in a position to point out 
the one defect in it as a history, and that is that it does not bring 
into just prominence and perspective the devoted services of its 
unaffectedly modest author to the Society's every interest. But 
these services continued for many years; and a painting of the 
grave, unassuming, thoughtful face now hangs on the walls of 
the Library to which, no less than to practical horticulture, he 
gave all his strength and his heart. Needless to say, the book was 
received not only by the members, but by all agricultural and 
horticultural journals that reviewed it, with the highest com- 

On the seventh of August, 1880, Mr. Wilder attended a business 
meeting for the first time since his accident, — what the accident 
was we are not told, for in such matters our chronologists seemed 
to feel that dignity would be less endangered by a general term. 
The occasion was to offer a tribute to a friend of fifty years' 
standing, Robert Buist of Philadelphia, a corresponding member 
and the introducer of the Poinsettia pulcherrima, Verbena 
Tweediana, and a host of other plants. Again in November we 
find the veterans sadly offering resolutions on the death of other 
old friends — C. C. Hamilton and Augustus Torrey; and by the 
pain apparent in their words we realize the strength of the bonds 
which were now being snapped, oftener and oftener, as the first 
members of the Society reached the allotted time. 

The financial prospect had greatly brightened on New Year's 
day, 1880. The hope of increased rentals from the halls and the 
stores had been fully realized, — over eleven thousand dollars 
from the former, and over nine thousand from the latter, — and 
Mount Auburn had returned $3255.56. Total assets were well 


over two hundred and eighty-two thousand, and liabilities eighty- 
four thousand. The Society depended mainly upon its real estate 
and Mount Auburn to meet expenses, while foreign societies de- 
pended mostly on visitors' entrance fees. How to increase these 
at the exhibitions was the principal theme of President Hayes' 
address, — for the President did not love undue frugality, and 
some of the committees were calling for sorely needed help. At 
Worcester the receipts were much larger than in Boston, which 
seemed strange with all the Boston Society's advantages, — 
indeed, many a county society did better. Two possible steps were 
obvious, — to increase the prizes, and to advertise. The mortgage 
was irksome to Mr. Hayes; and though the time had come for 
repairs and alterations on the building, if the halls and stores 
were to be kept attractive, he insisted firmly that there should 
be no more mortgaging or borrowing. " We must, as our fathers 
did, work for posterity," he concluded, — a behest which, as we 
shall later see, none put into practise more effectively than Hayes 
himself did by the provisions of his will. As if to express approval 
of his old friend's ideas, or as though shaken by the loss of so 
many other friends, CM. Hovey suggested that the President's 
portrait be added to the series in the Hall. The vote was unani- 
mously passed; but four years were to elapse before Hayes left 
his office, the first president to die in harness. 

The first discussion of the year 1881, on January the eighth, 
was a paper by William H. Spooner, Chairman of the Flower 
Committee, on his experience in hardy rose culture. He could 
offer nothing new to professional growers, he stated; but to others, 
among whom was Wilder, the subject was so attractive as to be 
continued a week later. A list of the best roses, prepared for the 
occasion, of course offered plenty of food for argument to every- 
body, including Wilder and Hovey — the former tactful and 
hearty, and the latter somewhat nervous and positive, but both 
consummately wise and friendly. The experience of most was 
that roses got their start soonest on Manetti stocks. Wilder re- 
marked that the Jacqueminot had taken a secure place in the 
market, about one hundred thousand having been sold during 
the year. A week later, with a snow-storm swirling through the 
street and beating at the windows, a creditably large number had 


ventured out to hear a lecture by John E. Russell on the tropical 
fruits and flowers of Darien, — pineapple, cocoanut, palm-tree, 
cacao-tree, coffee, cactus and air plants; and perhaps they could 
by contrast perceive the fragrance of the tuberose and jasmine 
" indescribably delicious," but sometimes overpowered by the 
" bedbug tree," which " had an odor like that of ten thousand 
tavern bedsteads." The speaker gave a vivid description of the 
convolvulus — how when it got its opportunity the gigantic vine 
would climb and strangle some enormous mahogany tree, which 
would then die, but could not fall; until finally, covered by vine 
leaves, it would be carried over by a tropical gale, forming a 
mound which covered an acre, in the early morning alive and 
ablaze with blossoms, and in an hour, perhaps, a wilted mass. 
Mr. Russell was thanked by a " rising vote." On the twenty-ninth 
E. W. Wood, of the Fruit Committee, told of the disgust of the 
farmers at the enormous fruit crops of the past year, and spoke 
of those best adapted for market purposes. Three hundred and 
ninety-six thousand barrels of apples had been exported. Wilder 
said that the Newtown Pippin, thirty years ago the highest priced 
for exportation, had now entirely yielded to the Baldwin; and he 
also spoke an enthusiastic word for the Clapp's Favorite pear. 
The discussion of a week later on how southern competition in the 
small fruit market should be met need detain us no longer than 
to record W. C. Strong's prompt answer, " in a determined spirit," 
and Mr. Hunt's complaint that we had to pay the highest prices 
for labor, ten cents an hour, for women and children. On the 
twelfth of February came a discussion of peach culture, and 
Roger's Seedling and the Downer were judged among the best 
yellow fleshed, while the E. S. Williams and Mountain Rose were 
fine examples of the white. At this moment the President intro- 
duced to the company John B. Russell — him who had kept the 
seed store in North Market Street where Lowell, Vose and others 
used to gather, and who had done so much to start the Society in 
1829; the only survivor of the eight corporators. It must have 
been at Mr. Russell's request that the subject of the discussion 
was resumed. John B. Moore said that he was glad to hear such 
hopeful views about the peach; he had been taken to task for 
expressing them a few years ago. The subject was continued the 


next week, and that of plum culture came naturally with it. Robert 
Manning announced Professor Farlow's conclusive proof that the 
black knot was caused by a fungus. On the twenty-sixth a discus- 
sion of the relative values of new or recently introduced hardy 
ornamental trees, shrubs or plants produced disagreements; and 
at the next meeting H. W. Sargent, H. H. Hunnewell, W. C. 
Strong, W. Gray, Jr., J. Robinson and Jackson Dawson were made 
a committee to prepare a list of the best twenty deciduous shrubs, 
deciduous trees, and conifers. These were reported at the last 
meeting in the spring, on March the twenty-sixth; but were ac- 
cepted with reservations and suggestions, as was also the case with 
the rose list, on which a committee had been appointed in January. 
A meeting in March was devoted to vegetables, in which much at- 
tention was given to the methods of cultivating the popular Lima 
beans. This year, for the first time, meetings were held in Decem- 
ber, on the seventeenth, twenty-fourth, and thirty-first. On the 
first date an essay which had taken the prize of twenty-five dollars 
was read by its author, Mrs. T. L. Nelson, of Worcester. Its theme 
was, Those of our Native Plants which are Adapted for Winter 
Culture for their Flowers. On the twenty-fourth the Professor of 
Vegetable Physiology, John Robinson, read a paper on orna- 
mental arboriculture, in which he said that little attention had 
been given to the matter in the early days in Massachusetts as 
compared with Philadelphia and the valley of the Hudson, the 
Massachusetts men being fully occupied with fruits. Two weeks 
later, on January the seventh, 1882, C. M. Hovey took up the 
cudgels by stating that Robinson had not read up on his subject, 
or else had not consulted good authorities; in any case he had 
given scant credit to the pioneers of horticulture in Massachusetts 
for their attention to the cultivation of trees. Mr. Hovey was in 
the habit of stating his opinions forcibly; and Mr. Strong hastened 
to explain that he thought Mr. Robinson had meant merely that 
arboriculture was in its infancy here. But the Rev. Mr. Muzzey 
said that he agreed with Mr. Hovey; whereupon Mr. Wilder en- 
tered the arena non-committally, and soon all was peace. The 
merits of the question cannot be entered into; but the result was 
a talk on large trees, by President Hayes, and a committee to 
ascertain the size and location of large or otherwise interesting 


trees, — a movement which we shall see eventually brought into 
existence a collection of excellent photographs and descriptions 
for the Library. 

The season of 1881 was notable for the appearance of new and 
rare plants and flowers, and the report prints long lists and partial 
descriptions of roses, clematis, new hardy shrubs and perennials, 
the last forming a splendid exhibit. Hyde's white seedling gladi- 
olus took the prospective prize of forty dollars, and William Gray, 
Jr., won the large challenge cup for roses with seventy- two beauti- 
ful specimens — his third victory in succession, as was required 
by the conditions. Seedling chrysanthemums from Dr. H. P. 
Walcott represented a successful experiment in horticultural 
science, perhaps the first in this direction attained in the country. 
Wilder presented for naming an Indian azalea in the fifth year 
from the seed, which indicated by a peculiar double flower a new 
break in the character of the plant. It was named for its owner by 
the Committee. President Hayes' plants won a sweeping victory 
at the shows in June for rhododendrons and hardy azaleas. The 
rose and strawberry show on June the eighteenth was extremely 
good; the chrysanthemum show on the ninth, though not large, 
was good in quality and promising in the interest it attracted. The 
annual exhibition for flowers, plants and fruits was held in Music 
Hall in order to make room in the Society's building for the ex- 
hibition of the American Pomological Society, which at Wilder 's 
suggestion had been invited to hold it at the same time in Boston. 
In Music Hall was a central platform of about eight hundred 
square feet on which the splendid larger plants were artistically 
grouped with proper blending of colors. On each side two smaller 
platforms contained smaller plants, so arranged that the whole 
made a great mass of foliage. On the stage were the tropical 
plants, with a front edging of caladiums. On the sides of the hall 
were the stands of cut flowers ; and in the front of the lower gal- 
lery, from which the seats had been removed, were two rows of 
stands holding gladioli. Robert Manning had arranged evergreens 
under the gallery, with baskets in front suspended from it, and a 
display of orchids. There are in the report seventeen closely 
printed pages of awards; and we are reminded that the time had 
arrived when governments and societies were sending out ex- 


ploring parties of horticulturists who month by month brought 
back new treasures. The winter conditions — snow on the ground 
from November until March — had inspired great hopes in the 
Fruit Committee, but the plentiful strawberries were mediocre 
in quality, and the small fruits only fair also. We have seen that 
plum culture was being resuscitated as the means became known 
of righting the black wart and the curculio — the latter of which 
could, according to Joseph Clark's experience, be kept away by 
a thin application of whitewash to the tree in June. Mildew was 
this year fatal to the grape crop, only three dishes of them com- 
peting for sixteen prizes; pears were well over the average; and 
apples, though the year was an off one, were good. On the ninth 
of April the Southern California Horticultural Society, at the sug- 
gestion of Lucius G. Pratt, sent an exhibit of fruit, mostly of the 
genus Citrus, which recalled that of 1840 sent by our Consul at 
Fayal, C. W. Dabney. It was distressing to the Committee that 
with the Pomological Society in town, the grapes, apples and pears 
had not shown better what New England could do; but after all, 
as President Hayes told them in his address of welcome at the 
Hawthorne Rooms on Park Street on the fourteenth of September, 
they — from the Dominion of Canada to the Everglades of 
Florida, from the Atlantic to the Pacific shore, — were children 
of our own, or anyway, dear relatives whom we received with 
pride. And Marshall P. Wilder had been the President of the 
Pomological Society for more than thirty years. Vegetables were 
also affected by a cold, wet, backward spring, and by the middle 
of July it was evidently necessary that the schedule dates should be 
put a week ahead. There had been no improvement in competition 
among forced vegetables. A new pea, the Marvel, was shown by 
CM. Atkinson, and in May the Parker House Favorite tomato 
by James Bard. Tomatoes were not generally shown this year 
until the middle of August; but in the past few years great strides 
had been taken in the improvement of this vegetable. At the annual 
show six new seedling potatoes, which had won medals at the 
New York State Fair, likewise won the Society's silver medal 
for E. S. Brownell, of Vermont. The Garden Committee's visits 
this year were of unusual interest to fruit cultivators. After a 
visit to President Hayes' tent of rhododendrons, new conserva- 


tory, pit in the woods for half-hardy plants in winter, and 
generous hospitality for weary horticulturists, the Committee 
examined Thomas C. Thurlow's peach orchard in West New- 
bury, which they found attacked by the dread disease " yellows/' 
against which there seemed to be no defence. Marshall Miles a 
month later showed them his orchard of fine-looking, heavily 
laden peach trees in Concord, and sent a note for the Transac- 
tions quoted from the 1878 report of the Michigan Pomological 
Society which said that the disease seemed " contagious," and 
that the destruction of affected trees was the only possible de- 
fensive course at present. It was fourteen years before another 
opportunity came to see a peach orchard. 

The dinner given to the members of the Pomological Society 
" with their ladies " by the Horticultural Society at Music Hall 
on the evening of Friday the seventeenth of September was a 
bright and happy occasion. The annual show decorations, the 
Germania orchestra in the rear balcony, the ladies, and the 
presence of Governor Long and other invited dignitaries com- 
bined to reproduce in some degree the charm of the old trien- 
nials. M. P. Wilder was, of course, the lion of the occasion — if 
such a word can be used even metaphorically of the beloved 
veteran — and he recalled that it was by the authority of the 
Society that he had been empowered to issue the circular to 
assemble the National Convention of Fruit Growers which 
organized the Pomological Society thirty-three years before. 
Telling of old days, he said that he remembered when the only 
strawberry known was the wild one, and that now there were 
four hundred; that there used to be only two or three kinds of 
grapes, and there were now over two hundred. He only prayed 
that he might live long enough to see all the country's fruit 
lands opened up for cultivation. Governor Long, in a short ad- 
dress, referred to Wilder as the Nestor among the chiefs of horti- 
culture, and the oldest and the youngest man in Massachusetts. 
After a sentiment expressing the sympathy of the nation for 
President Garfield — who only two days later was to be relieved 
by death from his suffering through the long days of that hot 
summer — representatives of the different sections of the coun- 
try spoke; and Isidore Bush of Missouri presented to Mr. Wilder 


a bunch of grapes from the Nestor of fruit-growers in the west, 
Frederick Miiench. Then came the singing of the hymn written 
for the occasion by John Greenleaf Whittier, beginning 

" Oh Painter of the fruits and flowers, 
We own thy wise design, 
Whereby these human hands of ours 
May share the work of thine! 

"Apart from Thee we plant in vain 
The root, and sow the seed." 

Standing, the company sang this to the tune of Auld Lang Syne 
— constrained to use that tune, perhaps, by tradition. The 
desperate condition of President Garfield, and the words at once 
sorrowful and thankful of W. K. Gibson, who spoke of the forest 
fires in Michigan and the sympathetic help of Massachusetts 
extended to the sufferers, gave a solemn but most genuinely 
fraternal atmosphere to the occasion, which soon afterwards 

A great many new books were added to the Library in 1880, 
and with them 161 nurserymen's and seedsmen's catalogues, — 
the beginnings of the present vast collection; for although an 
attempt had been made to supply the tables the year before, 
this time circular letters were sent, and the catalogues came 
from all over the country and from nine European countries. 
Again W. E. Endicott urged the necessity of beginning a card 
catalogue for the thousands of plates, which were being rapidly 
added to because of the new plants introduced by explorers. 
They could not be of much use without a catalogue, and more- 
over, Robert Manning, the Librarian, had noticed an increased 
demand for plates because of the growing artistic taste for paint- 
ing and embroidery. Manning was busy editing the Transactions, 
naming flowers, and trying to complete imperfect sets of books 
and periodicals. Recent improvements in the building included 
office rooms outside, and readers were now relieved from the 
interruptions caused by tenants of the halls. 

Repairs costing about six thousand dollars had been made on 
the building and the halls, with the result that they could now 


compete again with the rival halls which had been built in the 
neighborhood. The new Treasurer, George W. Fowle — for Bus- 
well had retired from office at the end of May — consequently 
reported increased rentals for the year, $10,275 for the stores, 
and $5398 for the halls. Mount Auburn had bought new land, 
and the decrease in returns for the year could be regarded as an 
investment. A few of the figures may be interesting at this point : 
salaries, $2325; taxes, $3327.50; Mount Auburn, $2187.26. 
Assets were estimated at $281,888.80; liabilities, $84,000; and 
surplus, $197,888.80; but E. H. Hitchings pointed out that the 
value placed on the Library — $20,746.12 — took into no ac- 
count the donations of books by Professor Russell and others, 
or the Fern Herbarium presented in 1875, an d since largely 
added to, by George E. Davenport. The membership was now 
857. During the year George B. Emerson, John C. Gray, Henry 
Vantine, E. F. Washburn, John A. Lowell, S. Downer, Jr., and 
Andrews Breed had died. Emerson had been one of the com- 
missioners for an agricultural survey of the State, had made an 
elaborate and able report on its trees and shrubs, and was well 
remembered for his advice at the time of the founding of the 
Arnold Arboretum. Gray, as we have seen, served on the first 
board of vice-presidents and was its last survivor; and Andrews 
Breed was one of the founders, and the chief magistrate of Lynn. 
Lowell, though not a founder, was one of the original members 
of the Society, and the son of John Lowell. To him as a fellow 
of Harvard College, and to his interest, the Botanic Garden 
largely owned the position it held, with the first botanist in the 
world at its head; and C. M. Hovey remarked that as Lowell's 
donation of a thousand dollars was made at a time — 1846 — 
when the Society's resources had been heavily taxed by the erec- 
tion of the first Horticultural Hall, it was doubly effective and 
welcome. We remember that the income was used for the Lowell 

On January the seventh, 1882, President Hayes expressed 
great satisfaction at the accomplishments of the past year; but 
his eyes were always turned forward and upward; and, as an 
increase of income seemed imperative, his program was more 
improvements in the business accommodations of the building 


below the halls, high standards for prizes, and more money, in- 
fluence, or work from every loyal member. 

Dr. E. Lewis Sturtevant, a deeply interested and devoted mem- 
ber of the Committee on Publication and Discussion, had been 
obliged to resign because of his election as director of the New 
York State Agricultural Station; but William H. Hunt took his 
place, and the meetings began immediately with the animated 
discussion already noted on the subject of arboriculture, which 
ended constructively in a committee to report on the size and 
whereabouts of interesting trees. A week later W. C. Strong, as 
a dealer in trees, spoke on apple and pear culture. The demand 
for pear trees was, he said, roughly twenty times that for apple; 
and as the apple was the more important and valuable fruit, it 
seemed time to think of asking state aid for this industry. It 
was the slowness of the returns that discouraged cultivators, as 
hundreds of decaying farms testified. The discussion went on 
to the different varieties, and then to reminiscences of the days 
when Wilder had spent twenty or thirty thousand dollars in 
testing and throwing out unworthy fruits, until CM. Hovey ob- 
served to the company with characteristic frankness that Mr. 
Strong had read a very excellent paper, — though he " had not 
adhered very closely to the subject assigned " — but that he 
questioned some of his statements. The part of the subject 
relating to new varieties of pears was taken up at the next meet- 
ing, and from the suggestive paper by J. W. Talbot we learn 
that Van Mons' successes were now regarded as to some extent 
accidental. In an extended discussion Wilder, Hovey, Strong, 
Wood and others demonstrated that cross-fertilizing the best 
varieties was the sure road to success. The next two meetings 
were given up to hardy herbaceous plants and their culture, by 
Warren H. Manning and Joseph H. Woodford; one by William 
D. Philbrick on the eleventh of February was devoted to vege- 
tables — with attention to the increasing interest of mushroom 
culture. It is interesting to find that another paper by Mr. 
Philbrick a week later on the out-door culture of vegetables was 
listened to by a much larger audience than had attended any 
previous meeting. To new and old flowering plants were given 
up two meetings consisting of long discussions. We have already 


used some of the matter of a sketch by W. T. Brigham of William 
Brigham's house in 1841 on Washington Street. This was read 
on the eleventh of March, and was followed by a digression by 
CM. Hovey. He condemned the deceptions in regard to plants 
" practised by foreign adventurers who had published catalogues 
containing blue tuberoses and rhododendrons, and lilies and car- 
nations a foot in diameter and striped with blue "; but he could 
not help admiring the ingenuity and talent " which might be 
better employed " required to get up such a catalogue. He enlists 
our sympathy even more when he objects to the formation of 
" rockeries in connection with highly architectural houses," and 
the prevalent taste for gypsy kettles painted bright red and hung 
from a tripod to plant flowers in. 

The next meeting too, on the eighteenth of March, was very 
fully attended; it was on the subject of mineral constituents in 
plant growth, and members had been asked to bring interested 
friends. Dr. Charles A. Goessman, Professor of Chemistry at 
the Massachusetts Agricultural College at Amherst, was the lec- 
turer, and his historical sketch and exposition of so practical a 
matter was eagerly listened to. The discussion came around to 
the mysterious and very alarming disease of the " yellows," in 
peaches; and on this Professor D. P. Penhallow read a paper 
in which, though he could give no immediate remedy, he outlined 
the plan of campaign which had to be followed if victory was to 
come. These papers aroused interest in London, and brought a 
letter on the subject from A. Ramsay of the Scientific Roll. John 
E. Russell began the December meetings with an interesting but 
not always optimistic lecture on horticulture in Mexico and 
Central America. " Every prospect pleases," he said, " and only 
man is vile"; and a sea captain of his acquaintance who had 
been questioned about the manners and customs of the natives 
replied that their manners were bad and their customs nasty. 
The last three discussions of the year were a practical one — 
Wilder called the observations " worth their weight in gold " — 
on the best new varieties of vegetables; one on the development 
in the last twenty years of knowledge about tomatoes, by W. D. 
Philbrick; and one by W. W. Rawson of Arlington on how best 
to grow melons. As to the last, M. P. Wilder said he had no 


trouble with insects: he got up in the morning before they 

The dry summer of 1882 cut down the season's exhibits some- 
what. There were fine plants at the azalea and rose show in March, 
but pelargoniums continued to decrease, — Hovey and Company 
were the only exhibitors this year — and a severe frost in the 
early autumn of 1881 had injured the rhododendrons. But the 
rose and strawberry show on the last day of June was magnificent, 
and the silver vases, offered for the fourth time, were never so 
worthily contested. These prizes had this year been obtained by 
general subscription among members, as a result of the resolve 
to make the rose show the grand feature of the year. English and 
French hybridizers had made such improvements in hardy roses 
that no smaller success was to be expected, and the Society gave 
a splendid account of itself. Another silver challenge cup had 
been offered for three consecutive years, and J. B. Moore and 
Son won this, for the first season. The chrysanthemum show in 
the Upper Hall also eclipsed anything of the kind attempted 
before, especially Dr. Walcott's seedlings, the President Wilder 
and the President Parkman. The annual exhibition from the nine- 
teenth to the twenty-second of September was not extensive, but 
exceptionally good in quality, and the' grand exhibits proved the 
wisdom of the Committee in adding more prizes for greenhouse 
plants. Out of the appropriation of $1500, $1392 was awarded. 
As to fruits, the severe cold early in October and a very cold 
winter entirely destroyed the fruit buds on peach trees in Massa- 
chusetts, and not one specimen grown in open culture was ex- 
hibited during the whole year. There were no new varieties of 
prominence in strawberries. Plums continued to increase more 
than any other fruit had done in the past ten years ; grapes were 
well shown; but apples and pears were hardly up to standard. 
The codling moth was becoming more and more of a nuisance, 
and the Committee suggested it as an important subject for in- 
vestigation, — a hint which was taken early in January. Another 
subject suggested was the best kind of apples to cultivate for the 
export trade; for it had become evident that New England apples 
were better than western for shipping, and the prophecy made 
by President Strong in 1873 of the importance and value of the 


export trade was coming true. This subject also was debated, 
late in January. The " oldest inhabitant " had never seen a 
season open so discouragingly for vegetables as that of 1882; 
and the cost of re-seeding was large; but matters improved, and 
reasonably creditable exhibitions were made. There had been an 
improvement in forced vegetables, after several years of inaction. 
The potatoes at the annual show were distinctly creditable, and 
Albert Bresee sent a new seedling called Advance which he con- 
sidered better than the Early Rose. The exhibitions for the year 
were all well attended, the progress of the Society was evident 
everywhere, new members were coming forward, and it seemed 
that the most prosperous years were yet to come. 

The Library was becoming a favorite resort for the members 
of the Society. The great success of the meetings for discussion 
was evident in the call for books which the subjects had suggested, 
and which implied a more extensive scientific interest and knowl- 
edge than heretofore, — such as volumes on structural botany, 
geological distribution of plants, and the proceedings of scientific 
societies. The removal of the busts on brackets on the wall had 
made space for a large bookcase in the western part of the room, 
but this was almost immediately filled, and the call arose for 
more. A hundred dollars had been granted early in the year for 
the catalogue of plates, and the 13,000 cards written gave access 
to that fraction of the quarter of a million plates " as obscurely 
buried heretofore as the remains of the mound builders." Robert 
Manning was so busy with clerical matters that his wish that he 
could " report events which increased the power of the Society 
to promote its objects, the improvement of the art and science of 
horticulture" sounds pathetic; but his efforts were bearing fruit 
in the completion of sets of periodicals, of which the most im- 
portant was the Gardener's Chronicle, founded in 1841. In 
February, W. E. Endicott announced a gift from Charles Downing 
of the rare color plate edition of Fruits and Fruit Trees of 
America, by his brother, A. J. Downing, the latest edition of the 
second revision, the fourteenth edition with manuscript notes 
and corrections, and the North American Pomologist by Brinckle. 
A reminder of the correspondence begun half a century before by 
President Dearborn came from the Societe Nationale et Centrale 


d'Horticuluire de France in the shape of a donation of its twenty- 
three published volumes. 

The resolutions on the death of Charles Darwin have already 
been noticed as of interest in connection with the reception in 
this country of his teachings. Other losses by death were Thomas 
Potts James, a corresponding member and an eminent student 
of mosses and lichens, who had once taken CM. Hovey to see 
the beautiful Rush. Pepper. Smith, and Piatt gardens in Philadel- 
phia: Professor Joseph Decaisne of Paris, a corresponding mem- 
ber, who had begun his career as a garden boy in 1S26: and 
Henry Winthrop Sargent, the famous horticulturist and land- 
scape gardener, who for over forty years had been introducing 
exotic trees and plants, especially of the coniferous tribe, to test 
their adaptability to this climate. The financial situation at the 
end of the year was good; for though no more had been paid off 
on the mortgage, the income from the improved halls and the 
stores had increased, in spite of the lower rentals necessary to 
meet competition. Experience had shown that improvements in 
the stores were desirable in order that they might be let only for 
purposes which should be entirely agreeable to the Society. The 
surplus of assets over liabilities was well above S204.0C0; the 
membership S57; and appropriations for 1SS3 were Si 500 for flow- 
ers. S950 for fruit. S5CC for vegetables, and Si 00 for gardens and 
greenhouses. During the year 1SS2 one matter arose which had 
more implications than the Committee on Prizes probably at first 
perceived, the question as to whether a premium of a hundred dol- 
lars for the best specimens of the Pocklington grape to be shown in 
1SS3 should be accepted from the " estate of George A. Stone, of 
Rochester. Xew York.'' After discussion, it was accepted on the 
third of June. 1SS2 ; and on the sixteenth of December a vote was 
passed that the Committee should be authorized to add to the 
schedule any prize for which the means might be provided outside 
of the funds of the Society. The danger in this policy is perhaps 
better perceived today than it could have been at the time it was 
adopted, and we are glad to find that two years later, on W. H. 
Spooner's motion, it was voted that " no premiums except those au- 
thorized by the Society should be awarded at any exhibition.-' If 
any further exposition of the matter is necessary, we may find it in 


the words of W. C. Strong on the eighth of March, 1884: A large 
premium was last year offered by a nurseryman and awarded by 
this Society for a grape which he was disseminating, but which the 
speaker believed to be not worthy of cultivation here. Before re- 
turning to our narrative it is best to cover all the consequences of 
this vote to accept prizes from outsiders, and to hear W. C. Strong's 
words on the subject. At a meeting on the nineteenth of January, 
1884, a letter was read from Peter Henderson, of New York, 
offering premiums for specimens of the Sunset Rose and White 
Plume celery. It was referred to the Executive Committee, and 
on the ninth of February the premiums were refused, — " it not 
having been the general policy of the Society to offer such prizes." 
On the eighth of March, at a discussion meeting on the subject 
of the Best Work for Horticultural Societies and How Best Ac- 
complished, W. C. Strong said: " A proposition was lately made 
by an enterprising nurseryman, to offer prizes to be awarded by 
this Society for certain new things which he is sending out, and 
some thought it an opportunity which should not be neglected to 
secure the exhibition of these novelties without endorsing the 
articles to a certain extent. The acceptance by the Society of 
such an offer would almost inevitably have created the necessity 
on the part of growers to purchase the articles, who would then 
have become interested, and would not have been unprejudiced." 
Perhaps Mr. Strong never gave a better proof of his powers of 
penetration than by these words; and in connection with them 
the increasing value of the Society's seal of approval of a product 
stands out very clearly. 

On the sixth of January, 1883, President Hayes again urged 
the need of more money, reminding the Society that during im- 
provements on the stores, rentals would be lost, — indeed, in 
anticipation of alterations, expiring leases had for some months 
past not been renewed, and the stores had been rented temporarily 
to those who would pay the most. Fortunately there was four 
thousand dollars more cash on hand than last year, and the prizes 
were not to be diminished. Mr. Hayes felt the value and need of 
obtaining and publishing the best essays, a matter which, as is 
perhaps natural, had not stirred up much emulation among the 


At the first discussion meeting, on the sixth, Jacob W. Manning 
responded to the demand for a call to arms against the codling 
moth and other insect enemies by describing how to use certain 
poisons. A week later came the reaction to the remarkable 
chrysanthemum show in the fall, a lecture by Dr. Henry P. 
Walcott, of Cambridge, on the flower and its culture, but partic- 
ularly on Chrysanthemum indicum of Linnaeus, and Chrysan- 
themum sinense of Sabine. C. M. Hovey joined the discussion 
which followed, and seeing a lion in the path of their culture, was 
reassured by C. M. Atkinson, who said that the difficulties had 
been much overstated. The next period was occupied by a talk 
on lilies and their culture by William E. Endicott, who believed 
that good new species could be got in Massachusetts, as the 
beautiful Lilium Parkmanni proved. On January the twenty- 
seventh, the absorbing matter of the best fruits for export was 
introduced by E. W. Wood, Chairman of the Fruit Committee, 
who recommended Concord grapes, and the late varieties of pears, 
like Beurre Bosc, Seckel, Doyenne du Cornice, Duchesse d'An- 
gouleme, Beurre d'Anjou, and Dana's Hovey, and said that the 
exportation of apples from New York had risen from 300,000 
barrels in 1878 to 1,400,000 in 1880, and that most of them were 
probably Baldwins. He and B. P. Ware also gave an account of 
the process and results of evaporation. L. Wether ell said that he 
had heard of a pumpkin's being placed in the middle of a barrel ; 
and Mr. Curtis replied that sometimes such things did happen. 
O. B. Hadwen said that he had planted an orchard in 1843 to 
provide for his and his wife's old age, but that the changed ideas 
of living had prevented realization. An instructive lecture by Dr. 
J. R. Nichols on the sweet principle of fruits and plants came 
next, and then one on herbaceous perennials by W. H. Manning 
which particularly interested Mrs. Wolcott, who wished to know 
which ones could best be cultivated by " the masses " in window 
gardens and yards. On February the seventeenth W. C. Strong 
gave a talk on new and useful shrubs, which was supplemented 
by a long list read by Jackson Dawson, now gardener at the 
Arnold Arboretum, — a discussion which M. P. Wilder charac- 
terized as the most informing yet held on the subject, — though 
he and Mr. Hovey were both surprised at Mr. Strong's low 


estimate of the weigela. A week later the talk by William H. 
Hunt gave much historical information on the cultivation of 
hardy grapes, in which due credit to the Concord is given, though 
Mr. Strong considered it far inferior in quality to either the 
Isabella or the Catawba. Mr. Hunt said that the Concord was a 
very wonderful step in the improvement of the grape, but that 
there now seemed no limit to the improvement possible; and it is 
striking to find that George C. Husmann, speaking on the same 
subject a quarter of a century later, affirmed that the " future 
possibilities of the grape are almost unlimited." Of the hundred 
and ninety-two million pounds of grapes then produced in the 
Chautauqua grape belt on Lake Erie, nine-tenths were Concords ! 
At the next meeting Marshall P. Wilder spoke on strawberries 
and their culture. He considered the plant a capricious one, but 
its culture had taken a rank of great importance. There was much 
room for improvement — " improvement is the destiny of our 
race." The Charles Downing was beginning to take the place of 
the Wilson; and among the new varieties the most promising 
were the Manchester, the Jersey Queen, the Iron Clad, the James 
Vick, and (" pardon me for uttering the vulgar name," he inter- 
jected) the Big Bob. Hybrid perpetual roses came under fire 
next, with J. B. Moore leading; and in view of the doubt as to 
how much weight the Flower Committee should give to fragrance, 
Messrs. Moore and Hovey endeavored to differentiate between 
an odor, a disagreeable odor, and a peculiar odor. They concluded 
that people differed on the subject. Discussions followed during 
the rest of March on small fruits, fertilizing and preparing the 
soil, and finally sports physiologically considered, — in the last 
of which J. W. Talbot's conclusion that all sports are hybrids 
was met by a most emphatic denial by C. M. Hovey. M. P. Wilder 
took occasion to remark at the end of the winter series of meetings 
that great as the exhibitions were, the Society had never done 
anything so popular as holding these discussions; they diffused 
information themselves, as the sale of the Transactions outside 
of the State showed, and by being largely copied in journals of 
the day they reached an incalculable number of interested people. 
To Messrs. Strong and Wilder especially were due great thanks 
for sustaining them; and to Mr. Hayes thanks for his constant 


presence and impartial, courteous, and faithful presidency at the 

Long continued drought brought disaster to most of the flowers 
of 1883. The cut roses in March were the most beautiful ever 
seen, and Wilder 's Indian azaleas took all but one prize on the 
twenty-second ; but there was not one competitor in pelargoniums 
on the twelfth of May, and in June the Committee made the 
mistake of postponing the rhododendron show from the ninth to 
the thirteenth, by which time hot weather had done its work. 
After a severe winter, and in a dry season, no plant suffered more 
than the rose; but there was sharp competition for the silver 
vases again on the twenty-sixth of June, and J. B. Moore and 
Son took the challenge cup for the second time in succession. At 
the annual exhibition the entire Upper Hall was devoted to plants 
and flowers, to meet the continued increase in this department. 
A special novelty was a collection of nymphaeas, Victoria regia, 
and Nelumbium speciosium from E. D. Sturtevant, sent at the 
request of the Committee. The chrysanthemum show in November 
continued to give evidence of a growing taste, and was far superior 
to any previously made. $1499 was distributed for plants and 
flowers during the year. Fruits fared better than flowers, except 
for apples and peaches, though the later ones of course suffered 
from the drought. Grapes, however, escaped the mildew and their 
quality was the better for the heat and dryness. No fruit showed 
so much change in varieties offered from year to year as straw- 
berries. Four quarts of the Sharpless again won the first prize, 
and a special prize of ten dollars offered by Wilder for the same 
quantity of the finest berries in form, color and quality went to 
W. Heustis' new seedling, the Belmont. Plums were well shown, 
but the peaches were sorely beset by the fatal yellows. Forty 
prizes were awarded for native grapes, two of them being the 
seventy-five and twenty-five-dollar ones for the Pocklington, — 
the former taken by John Charlton, of Rochester, New York. 
The best white grape was the Moores' seedling, Francis B. Hayes. 
Foreign grapes were better shown than for many years, ten 
varieties being shown in August and fifteen at the annual exhibi- 
tion by J. S. Farlow. " The bunches were large and well-formed," 
said the Committee, " but not quite large enough to take either of 


the two special prizes offered for the last five years but never 
awarded." It is possible that this remark was called forth by a 
motion made at a business meeting on the third of March that all 
specimens of fruits exhibited for prospective prizes should be 
weighed and measured; single specimens of the pears and apples, 
and the cluster and individual berries of the small fruits to be 
measured to ascertain the diameter, — a proceeding which the 
Committee had not unnaturally pronounced "inexpedient." 
Though there were no new pears of special merit, 138 prizes 
were awarded out of 141 offered, in spite of the blight. In apples 
a slight tendency was apparent towards a more even distribution 
of crops between the odd and the even years, — a gratifying 
result of the Committee's suggestions. We may note here that at 
the end of the year it was voted at Wilder's suggestion, that the 
nomenclature of fruits should be conformed to that of the cata- 
logue of the American Pomological Society. The drought and the 
scorching sun were not favorable to vegetables, but the exhibits 
were interesting: Bliss's American Wonder pea, a great acquisi- 
tion; the Acme tomato, which was decidedly the best of its class 
and seemed to leave no room for improvement either in form or 
quality; George Hill's superb Greenflesh melons; notable celery, 
egg plants and cauliflowers; and at the annual exhibition the 
" largest and best show of potatoes ever made by this Society," — 
for they were well advanced before the drought came. Clark, 
King, Rose and Hebron were prize takers, and Bresee's Advance 
was emphatically commended. The sum of $514 was given in 
prizes. The Garden Committee, which had done nothing in 1882, 
this year visited two places, that of President Hayes again to see 
the rhododendrons in a still larger tent of a hundred and fifty by 
seventy-five feet; and the two-acre place of Benjamin G. Smith of 
Cambridge, which gave great satisfaction because of the immense 
amount of work accomplished with the help of but one laborer. 
There were fifty varieties of apples, fifty of pears, four of peaches, 
four of quinces, nine of plums, three of cherries, and Franconia 
and other raspberries, Dorchester and other blackberries, French 
Transparent and other currants, strawberries, thirty-three kinds 
of grapes, gooseberries — the culture of which was now mostly 
confined to amateurs, — vegetables for Mr. Smith's own use, a 


hundred varieties of hardy perpetual roses, shrubs, lilies, peonies, 
phloxes, delphiniums, irises, and fine rhododendrons, andromedas, 
and azaleas. 

Discussion meetings were again held after the exhibitions were 
over. On the first of December J. J. Thomas spoke on hedge 
plants and hedges, and gave the results of his forty years ex- 
perience with buckthorn, osage orange, honey locust, privet and 
barberry; on the fifteenth W. D. Philbrick, whose practical talks 
before the Society we have already noticed, gave instructions for 
building and heating a greenhouse for amateur use; a week later 
C. M. Atkinson opened a discussion on pansies and carnations, 
the latter so difficult to raise; and finally the ever-engrossing 
subject of hybrid perpetual roses. The interest in roses, greatly 
enhanced by the market demand, of course had resulted in great 
progress by the Society in the fundamental principles of their 
culture, as the exhibitions plainly showed; and President Hayes 
was filled with pride when he saw in florists' windows of Ottawa 
and Montreal roses labelled Boston Buds. A committee was 
appointed to make a list of the best hardy roses as continuous 
bloomers in out-door culture and a list of those best adapted to 
general cultivation. Their report was submitted the following 
April, 1884, — eighteen on the first list, and twenty-eight on the 
second. On the fifth of May, 1883, it had been unanimously voted 
that Ellwanger's Treatise on the Rose should be made the standard 
of classifications of all roses exhibited for the Society's premiums. 
These meetings were no less interesting than the more formal ones 
at the beginning of the year, and Robert Manning made reports 
of them for the Evening Transcript. 

The Library made its annual not too plaintive call for more 
room: again behind the rows of books on the shelves were piled 
hundreds of others, " unseen and therefore unnoted." The year 
1883 ended the first half of the term for which the Stickney fund 
was available, and through this fund had been obtained most of 
the magnificent works with which the shelves were crowded. The 
most noteworthy — in fact one which made the year noteworthy 
in the annals of botanical literature — was the Flora Danica, 
just finished, a stupendous work begun a hundred and twenty- 
two years before by the Danish Government. The first fasciculus 


appeared in 1761, and now, four generations later, the work 
stood complete, unsurpassed by any of its kind. The card cata- 
logue of plates had progressed to the letter G, and was being put 
into alphabetical order. 

Finances were much improved at the opening of the year 1884, 
in spite of large sums used for repairs and improvements, the 
cost of removing certain restrictions upon and of remedying 
alleged defects in the Society's title to its property, and the pay- 
ment of about a thousand dollars as damages for the loss of a 
person's life through the fall of ice from the roof of the building, 
— a catastrophe which the usual precautions taken by the 
Superintendent against such an accident could not prevent. More- 
over the increased valuation by assessors of the Society's property 
resulted in an increase of taxes, which were now over $3500. 
But $9000 of the floating debt had been paid, the remaining 
$3000 was soon to be, and the mortgage debt of $60,000 had been 
renewed for five years, at four and a quarter per cent, — one and 
a half per cent lower than before, which meant a reduction of 
$1470 annually. Receipts from the halls, stores, and Mt. Auburn 
were nearly the same as in 1882 — about $7400, $10,000 and 
$4400 respectively. The membership was 872. Several deaths had 
of course occurred, amongst them Lemuel Clapp, the man who had 
with his own hand planted the seed from which the Clapp 's Fa- 
vorite pear originated, though the credit of the result belonged to 
his brother Thaddeus. 

In January, 1884, President Hayes, though mindful that cash 
on hand was necessary for contingencies, and eager for the day 
when the Society's estate should be free from the mortgage debt 
and all other incumbrances, approved thoroughly of the increase 
voted for prizes for the coming year, — $3850 divided in about 
the usual proportions. The increase in taxes had suggested to him 
that there was no good reason why the State should not assist 
horticultural societies as it did agricultural, by exemption; and 
accordingly steps had been taken to cooperate with the Worcester 
County Horticultural Society which had taken the initiative in 
the matter of obtaining relief. Through the able efforts of William 
H. Spooner, partial exemption was obtained; but it remained 
for Robert Manning to go further, and to discover by patient 


research that the Society was actually entitled to state aid. Mr. 
Hayes closed his address by suggesting prizes for various special- 
ities, whereby small growers might be stimulated to compete with 
wealthier ones; and his suggestion that some attention should 
be paid to the long-neglected matter of window-gardening, at 
once, on W. H. Spooner's motion, resulted in an appropriation 
of a hundred dollars for it. 

We need not stop over the earlier meetings for discussion in 
January, which concerned such practical matters as manures, the 
cultivation of small fruits, and the care of house plants ; but that 
upon the subject of shade and shelter trees by L. Wetherell on 
the twenty-sixth is more generally attractive, as it soon passed 
into the descriptions of trees notable for their size, a subject 
which, as we have seen, was engaging a specially appointed com- 
mittee. The speaker told of one oak near Berlin mentioned by 
Humboldt, of nearly ninety feet in circumference, and another 
near there of sixty-six, their ages being estimated at between a 
thousand and two thousand years. Four thousand three hundred 
men could have stood under the branches of one in Keicot; and 
the Gelonas oak in Monmouthshire contained two thousand four 
hundred and twenty-six cubic feet of timber, six tons of bark, 
and sold finally for six hundred and seventy-five pounds. Of elms 
the great favorite in Massachusetts was the old elm of Boston 
Common, recently blown down, but measuring in 1844 twenty- 
three and a half feet in circumference at the ground. W. T. 
Brigham, just back from Central America, told of the trees there; 
and W. C. Strong described a New Hampshire forest so dense 
that the temperature in it was higher than outside, and robins, 
quails and other birds made it their winter quarters. Mr. Wetherell 
suggested that shade trees should, for the comfort of cattle, be 
planted in pastures, and Mr. Wilder seconded the idea warmly. 
Another subject which indicated the growing interests of the 
times was lawns and walks, and public and farm roads, introduced 
by Colonel Henry W. Wilson. " When we attempt decoration of 
nature," he said, " we must leave false-heartedness and fustian 
alone." After some remarks about the kinds of fence with which 
— if with any — a lawn should be surrounded, and objecting 
strongly to a stone wall, he came to the subject of statuary upon 


the lawn. " It may be a mark of cultivated taste," he said, " to 
grope around among the ruins of a heathen civilization and drag 
out of their mouldering heaps the lascivious and licentious statues 
of the days of their depravity and degradation; to go into ecsta- 
sies of delight over the exquisite modelling of their figures; to 
expend large sums in their purchase and in the erection of costly 
temples for their preservation, and to call this all a love of art. 
If it be, it is neither elevated nor pure, and after all is said and 
done, you have only a lot of rubbish which, if left exposed in the 
street, would render you liable to indictment and your collection 
to destruction as offensive to good morals." Greeks and Romans 
did this, and some Americans think they must do the same, 
making no account of the unsuitableness of our climate. " If 
there is anything in the world that looks cold and stiff it is a marble 
statue on a lawn, or a dog standing at everlasting point at invisible 
game, or the effigy of an orator mutely calling upon the Olym- 
pian Jove." The fountain in the Public Garden was " an abject 
thing in a drizzle." Chinese vases, judiciously disposed, are all 
right; but "if you have a passion for rock-work, beware that 
you do not make an imitation of a rubbish heap." The Rev. 
A. B. Muzzey was enthusiastic about the paper; CM. Hovey 
thoroughly agreed; W. B. Wilder agreed about the statuary; 
and J. B. Moore thought that statues of heathen gods 
and goddesses were doubly objectionable if they had no 
clothes on. 

In February peaches and plums and their enemies were dis- 
cussed, with the reluctant admission that no advance had been 
made against the black knot, the curculio, and the yellows. The 
value and practice of irrigation came next, a matter surprisingly 
neglected at the time, according to Colonel Wilson, who had 
spoken in January about lawns and public roads. A talk on the 
twenty-third about dandelions, asparagus, spinach and Brussels 
sprouts was begun by W. D. Philbrick, who said that he knew 
but one man who had grown Brussels sprouts for the market, and 
that only within a few years. He told how Deacon Corey, of 
Brookline, was derided in 1836 for cultivating dandelions. A 
talk about seed-growing came on the first of March, and with 
it a denunciation of the English sparrow, " a nuisance of recent 


importation." Mr. Wilder denounced also the seedsman who would 
sell bad seeds; but Mr. Hovey replied that some buyers would 
think the price of the best too high, and want some at a lower 
price; so what could a poor dealer do but keep two or three kinds? 
Most interesting of all historically was the discussion of the 
eighth of March on the Best Work for Horticultural Societies, 
and How Best Accomplished ; for the ex-presidents of the Society 
had been requested to speak. W. C. Strong, the first speaker, 
said that all would agree that the main work was to diffuse in- 
formation through exhibitions; but his special point now was to 
warn the public against over-praised novelties, by which, since 
in all men there is a craving for something new, they were likely 
to be deceived. We have already quoted his words about the 
danger in accepting prizes offered by outsiders. E. L. Beard 
spoke of the need of young men to train up in the love of horti- 
culture, praised the policy of reducing the price of admission to 
exhibitions, and wished the Society were able to grant free ad- 
mission at certain hours for poor children. W. D. Philbrick agreed, 
and added that there ought to be premiums for children under 
fifteen years of age. John G. Barker also thought that all the 
Society's activities should be educational, and that its medals 
and certificates should not be cheapened by abuse. He agreed 
with Mr. Strong's view that a horticultural society should be 
also an endorser, in order that people might confidently look to 
it to see what to grow. Charles M. Hovey, the next ex-presi- 
dent to speak, wished that the places of the older men who were 
dropping from the ranks might be more rapidly filled. In former 
generations the exhibits at the Royal Horticultural Society of 
London were made by the nobility and wealthy amateurs, while 
now they came from nurserymen. Here, too, he observed, there 
were none like John Lowell, Zebedee Cook, Jr., Samuel Downer 
and Samuel G. Perkins among the members! What was needed 
by the Society was more men of wealth and leisure, and a smaller 
proportion of those who were making a living. The old idea of resi- 
dence in the city was going out; the tendency was to stay there in 
winter, and to go to the seashore in summer. Moreover, he thought 
that money was frittered away in trying to teach botany to chil- 
dren while spelling was omitted; and he personally would not 


carry out the plan of admitting children free to any great extent. 
Of course, Mrs. H. L. T. Wolcott, — the originator of the window- 
gardening idea — was not going to stand this. She was sorry to see 
the position Mr. Hovey had taken, — looking back and mourning 
over the past. The young were needed, the children had to be 
educated, and she believed in the people. W. C. Strong then turned 
the subject back into its former channel; and by this time President 
Hayes was ready to express his views on the value and conduct 
of the meetings. He closed this one as follows: " We want the 
assistance of the Lowells, the Cooks, the Downers, the Perkinses, 
and other wealthy amateurs of horticulture, but we want still 
more the people of humble means; and I am in favor of having 
the Society do all in its power to promote window-gardening 
among those who have little or no opportunity for any other." 
It has seemed worth while to follow this meeting not only because 
of its value as a specimen, but also as showing the ideas and 
characteristics of some of the influential members. And con- 
sidering the subject and the speakers, the absence of M. P. Wilder 
— or if he was there, his silence — ; may possibly throw light on 
him also. 

The lecture by 0. B. Hadwen on the aesthetics of horticulture 
was more peaceful, with the description of Joseph Breck presenting 
flowers from his bouquet to a delighted little girl on the street- 
car; perhaps the juxtaposition of the two subjects was calculated. 
The story was told of the man who, on being shown a fine 
landscape painting including a hunter shooting game, simply ex- 
claimed, " He's bagged three of them! " Nobody even attacked 
the Public Garden; and indeed a good word was said for the 
beauty of a country landscape in winter, — though it must be 
remembered that Lowell's essay on the subject was already four- 
teen years old. C. Terry recited Tennyson's Flower in the 
Crannied Wall. William T. Brigham, President of the Tropical 
Products Company, on the twenty-second of March gave an ex- 
tremely interesting talk on Guatemalan forests, with their great 
flowers destitute of odor, " silent explosions " as Mr. Chesterton 
described them, — alligator pears — gigantic stone images of 
forgotten gods buried in the jungle. The subject at the final meet- 
ing of the season on the twenty-ninth was fertilizers, again; but 


Henry A. Breed, the only survivor except J. B. Russell of the 
sixteen men who met on the sixteenth of February, 1829, to form 
the Society, was a greater attraction. He was eighty-seven years 
old, had been one of the California pioneers in 1849, an d had 
for fifty years been a member of twelve societies. The verdict 
on the meetings for the year was that they had been good, but 
owing to the difficulty of getting a paper or a lecturer for each 
one, not up to the Committee's ideal. 

The exhibitions of 1884 were the best ever held by the Society; 
and, incidentally, the increase of private exhibitors brought up 
the matter of recognizing the services of gardeners, which we 
shall soon see properly provided for. The paid admission 
amounted to $2815.05, — a sum greater than for the five years 
combined previous to 1881, when the Pomological Society ex- 
hibited. Favorable weather and an increased prize list brought 
about this unusual success. The azalea and rose show in March 
started the season well, the pelargoniums and the rhododendrons 
were not numerous, but the roses were splendid on the twenty- 
fourth and twenty-fifth of June, after a mild winter. Orchids were 
excellently shown; H. Hollis Hunnewell sent good pelargoniums, 
and W. C. Strong brought attractive maple foliage. The quality 
of the plants at the annual show was very near perfection. E. D. 
Sturtevant again provided an attractive feature with his beautiful 
collection of water lilies. W. C. Strong took the first and second 
Hunnewell premiums for evergreen shrubs. The chrysanthemums 
in November were so splendid and extensively shown that the 
Upper Hall, though devoted exclusively to them, was not large 
enough; even last year's accomplishment was excelled. The 
weekly shows through the year kept pace with the larger ones; 
President Hayes sent large collections of camellias, and W. C. 
Strong splendid hybrid roses, while the Moores sent the beautiful 
new white Merveille de Lyon, a prize variety in most of the con- 
temporary English exhibitions. In April, N. S. Simpkins sent 
twelve blooms of the Cornelia Cook rose, which the Committee 
said had never been equalled in the halls. The displays of dahlias 
through the season were large, and indicated a return to the 
flower's former popularity. Strawberries were good, especially 
the Sharpless; and now, to the relief of the judges, twenty-four 


and forty-eight berries instead of two and three quarts were the 
quantities shown. The Belmont was entered by Mr. Heustis for 
the prospective prize. For peaches, the one word " yellows " ex- 
plained the situation; but plums were steadily getting better, 
though the Green Gage was not yet beaten by the new and more 
showy varieties. Foreign grapes were excellent, and a special 
prize went to the Black Hamburg, one bunch weighing five and 
a quarter pounds. All sixty-four prizes for pears were awarded, 
but there were no new varieties. Apples were abundant and fine, 
with the Gravenstein and Baldwin the best for market; and ex- 
portation increased. The Missouri State Horticultural Society 
sent between thirty and forty varieties of apples, through Mr. 
Wilder, — the handsomest were Rome Beauty, Gano, Winter 
Sweet Paradise, and Ben Davis; but most of them proved to be 
adapted only to the South. For 1885 the Committee planned a 
fifty per cent increase in prizes. The cold and wet season made 
vegetables late. For some years the Committee had been concerned 
at the lack of interest in forced vegetables, — now, because of 
an increased appropriation, they were able to establish prizes for 
them on the first Saturday of January and of February, — a new 
departure, for no awards had ever previously been made before 
the spring show. Among the new and excellent varieties of peas 
shown was Bliss' American Wonder, the earliest wrinkled pea in 
cultivation, and unrivalled in flavor, quality and productiveness. 
The Pearl of Savoy potato was brought to the Committee's atten- 
tion for the first time. The display of tomatoes at the annual show, 
— especially Acme, Emery and Paragon — was never excelled. 
The Garden Committee also had a cheerful report to make of 
seven places visited: that of President Hayes at Lexington; the 
excellent Newton Cemetery; the little garden of R. T. Jackson 
in Roxbury; J. W. Manning's collection of valuable garden 
plants, — phloxes, pyrethrums, German iris and peonies; the 
Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn, of which J. G. Barker, the Chair- 
man of the Committee, was Superintendent; J. B. Moore's splen- 
did one-acre vineyard, where the results of different methods 
of pruning over a number of years could be studied; and the 
Waverley Oaks, which consisted of about a dozen oaks and one 
huge elm, probably the only group of aboriginal trees standing 


on the Massachusetts coast. 1 At three feet from the ground one 
measured nineteen and another seventeen feet, while one recently 
cut down had been nearer twenty- five, judging by the stump. 

From the exhibitions of 1884 should perhaps date the palpable 
evidence that the Society was outgrowing its building. If access 
for both public and exhibitors was to be suitable, and a natural 
and beautiful arrangement for plants and flowers possible on the 
days of large exhibitions, it was evident that a much larger hall 
would be needed. The hand-power elevator was inadequate for 
getting the immense number of large plants up to the Upper Hall, 
and a much larger steam one would be necessary. Relief had 
long been needed for the Library; and thus the Society faced 
the embarrassing need of making extensive and costly repairs 
on a building which it was probable they would soon be obliged 
to leave. 

The Library's call for room was more urgent than ever: books 
were packed in the Librarian's room, behind almost all visible 
rows, at one end of the hall in a case, in a closet at the head of 
the southern stairway, and in the attic. It was impossible to cease 
buying them if for no other reason than that the Stickney fund 
could be used for nothing else. The first ninety-two parts of the 
magnificent Flora Brasiliensis had been acquired, — a fit com- 
panion with its beautiful plates for the Flora Danica and the 
Flora Graeca; and a long list of other titles. A gallery was sug- 
gested; and Robert Manning, with his usual thoroughness, de- 
termined to present the whole matter to the Society. While the 
books were receiving their usual summer dusting he counted 
them. In 1878, when the last count was made for the History, 
there were about 3400 books and 600 pamphlets. This time he 
found that there were 4800 books and 1350 pamphlets, not in- 
cluding nursery and seed catalogues. Thus the increase during 
the last six years was over forty per cent, while the space provided 
by new cases was almost negligible. It is not surprising that the 
good Secretary and Librarian complained; to the duties of 
Librarian were added the editing of the Transactions, the naming 
of fruits for whoever cared to present them, and a tremendous 
daily mail; yet apparently of his own initiative he undertook 

1 Atlantic Monthly, Jan., 1881. 



another work which eventually brought a comfortable sum an- 
nually into the treasury. After a careful examination of about 
one hundred volumes of the reports of other horticultural socie- 
ties, he discovered that eleven states granted either money or the 
free printing of reports. His figures were astonishing and con- 
vincing; and in the report of the Treasurer for 1886, we find the 
item " State Bounty, $600 " — due, we may add, to the dogged 
persistency and loyalty of Robert Manning. In January of the 
next year, E. W. Wood was elected a member of the State Board 
of Agriculture for three years, and the Board deputed James 
Grinnell to report on the Society's exhibitions for 1886. 

But the year had its losses. In January, Edward S. Rand, one 
of the oldest members and a vice-president from 1858 to 1861, 
was lost in the wreck of the steamship " City of Columbus"; 
and on September the twentieth a special meeting was called to 
take action on the death of Francis B. Hayes, the first of the 
Society's presidents to die in office. He had been, until his death, 
in the full vigor of mature manhood. That he served with sin- 
gular energy, ability, vigilance and courtesy was well appreciated 
by his sorrowful eulogizers, the venerable M. P. Wilder and John 
B. Moore, the latter of whom took his place as President; but the 
secret of the great success of his administration was not so easily 
guessed by a contemporary, — his genuine love for the Society. 
We have seen his uneasiness in regard to the mortgage, — his 
constant theme was " the benefit of posterity " — and we are 
not surprised to find that by his will the Society in 1899 acquired 
the sum of $10,000 as a specific bequest, and $133,333.33 on the 
first payment as residuary legatee. His last request was to be laid 
in Mount Auburn, and it was the Flower Committee that decorated 
the chancel of King's Chapel for the day of his burial. It was 
voted that the Society would be gratified if on his memorial tablet 
it should be stated that he had been its President for five con- 
secutive years; and a committee was appointed to procure the 
portrait of him which now hangs on our walls. 

Chapter XIII • 1885-1886. MARSHALL P. WILDER 

THE prosperous year 1884 had brought an increase in in- 
come of $4500 over the previous year, and from $3450 
the appropriation for prizes rose to $5100. Membership 
had increased to 889, and the increasing proportion of life mem- 
bers — 596 — to annual members — 293 — was a good sign, even 
though the fee of the former was thirty dollars and that of the 
latter ten. There were 210 assessments of two dollars each. F. B. 
Hayes' death had placed John B. Moore in the president's chair 
on the twentieth of September; and Mr. Moore's address on the 
third of January, 1885, included a eulogy of his predecessor, and 
evidence of his intention of carrying out Mr. Hayes' policies. 

John E. Russell's interesting lecture on the same day about the 
climate and horticulture of New England need detain us only 
long enough to note that the attention of the audience was partic- 
ularly held by the remarks on the early droughts, and the effects 
on them of the forests. A week later came another of Henry W. 
Wilson's excellent talks, this time on mulching; and on the seven- 
teenth, one by A. P. Slade on forest tree planting, — interesting 
in itself, but also significant as showing upon what fertile ground 
the seed sown at these discussions fell. We shall see almost exactly 
a year later how much the Society had to do with the forest 
interests of Massachusetts. On the twenty-fourth, E. L. Beard 
of course got into trouble with everybody by giving his opinions 
on herbaceous plants as opposed to bedding plants. Mrs. T. L. 
Nelson, on the fourteenth of February, spoke on garden flowers, 
and was voted thanks for an interesting address. A week later 
the leaf as a physical study was the subject of an address con- 
taining much information for the layman. On the seventh of March 
came a lecture by Jackson Dawson, gardener at the Arnold Ar- 
boretum, on the propagation of trees and shrubs from seed, — 
a paper so valuable and practical that nearly forty years later 


we find it reprinted in the 1924 Year Book. 1 It consisted of a list 
of eighty-eight useful trees that would stand the New England 
climate — a majority of them American — and an exposition of 
the soil, situation, and second-year treatment of each, with com- 
plete and simple rules. In March, M. P. Wilder, unable to be 
present, sent a paper on the nomenclature of fruits, which was 
read by the Secretary. He reported the efforts being made by the 
Pomological Society towards the discouragement of " long, super- 
fluous, inappropriate, indelicate, ostentatious and unmeaning 
titles"; and though acknowledging the peculiar difficulty of 
reform in such matters, felt that all reforms must be aggressive. 
Robert Manning, with deadly accuracy, at once explained that 
agitation on the subject had begun nearly forty years ago, when 
the Society had adopted the " Rules of Pomology," and that in 
1867 the American Pomological Society had adopted similar 
rules. The improvement proposed by Mr. Wilder was adopted by 
Professor Decaisne of the Jardin des Plantes in its magnificent 
work Jardin Fruitier du Museum, begun in 1858; but to Mr. 
Wilder belonged the credit of first making it practical in American 
pomology. Perhaps few people know that the Baldwin apple, 
originally the " Woodpecker," has had seven names, and the 
Nickajack — a southern variety — no less than thirty-six. Mr. 
Wilder wrote, " No more Generals, Colonels or Captains to name 
our fruits; Presidents, Governors or titled dignitaries. No more 
Monarchs, Kings or Princes; no more Mammoths or Tom 
Thumbs; no more Nonsuches, Seek-no-furthers, Ne Plus Ultras, 
Hog-Pens, Sheep-Noses, Big Bobs, Iron Clads, Legal Tenders, 
Sucker States, or Stump-the-Worlds. No long, unpronounceable, 
irrelevant, high-flown, bombastic names." David W. Lothrop 
thought that we could hardly claim the right to change foreign 
names; and W. C. Hovey reinforced that difficulty by observing 
that most horticulturists were poor French pronouncers. The 
final lecture, on the twenty-eighth of March, was a comparison of 
manures for garden and orchard, by Professor G. C. Caldwell, 
of Ithaca, and delighted the audience with its practical value and 

1 In 1902 Henry J. Elwes, F. R. S., of Cheltenham, England, asked permission to 
republish this lecture in the Journal of the English Arboricultural Society, which 
was of course granted. 


careful statements. Commenting upon the value of the lectures 
as a whole, the Rev. A. B. Muzzey quoted Thomas Carlyle, who 
had once said to him, " Two men I honor: him who cultivates the 
soil, and him who educates the human mind; — and no other." 
The papers were copied extensively into American and European 
horticultural journals; but the Committee in charge had wisely 
decided during the year to abandon the prizes for essays on given 
subjects, and to engage experts to speak; and the results justified 
the change. 

The increase in prizes brought better competition to the flower 
exhibitions; but this competition was noticeably absent at those 
points represented in the schedule where time and skill were 
called for; and accordingly the Committee began to consider in- 
creasing the prizes for specimen plants at the expense of those 
for miscellaneous collections of cut flowers. Azaleas, pelargoniums, 
heaths, forced hardy and herbaceous plants were meagrely re- 
presented. Mrs. P. D. Richards showed very valuable exhibits 
of wild flowers, ferns and mosses indigenous to this section, — 
and with both botanical and popular names appended to each. 
The last day of January, F. L. Ames showed Vanda Sanderiana, 
an orchid never before shown in bloom in this country. A cold 
spring cut down the number of azaleas and large plants for the 
spring exhibition; but a list of prizes published on the eighth of 
the previous November for spring flowering bulbs brought out 
such a glorious display of these and orchids as had never been 
seen, and gave an incalculable stimulus to bulb culture, as we 
shall see. We remember that the question of recognizing the 
services of private gardeners had been mentioned last year; and 
it was gratifying that for the skilful culture of orchids silver 
medals were awarded to three. The only entry for rhododendrons 
on the sixth of June was from Mrs. Francis B. Hayes; but they 
were numerous a week later. The rose and strawberry shows, 
and the weekly ones, were not above the average; but both the 
annual exhibition and the chrysanthemum show were the best 
that had ever been seen in Boston, and for the former twice the 
five thousand square feet of the Upper Hall alone would have 
been needed to present the plants effectively. For the latter the 
chrysanthemums and the orchids more than filled the Upper 


Hall, and the cut flowers were put in the Lower. The sum of $2 716 
was used for the awards, a list of which filled twenty-one closely 
printed pages. In fruits, which as a whole were above the average, 
apples were much more plentiful than usual in an odd year, prob- 
ably because in the spring of the year before frost had destroyed 
the buds. Among small fruits the Cuthbert was the leader of rasp- 
berries, and the Dorchester, as usual, took all prizes for black- 
berries. David Allan made the finest display of foreign grapes the 
Committee had ever seen; and "A. L. Hitchcock sent a cluster of 
Grape Fruit received from Florida, resembling Shaddocks, but 
growing in clusters. This is the Citrus pompelmos racemosus of 
Risso and Poiteau." The continued improvement in vegetable ex- 
hibits was very evidently due to improved methods, and this year 
more than double as many forced ones were shown as ever before, 
the specimens being practically perfect, — a result perhaps of the 
Committee's habit of granting only a second prize when they were 
not. Mrs. Francis B. Hayes sent asparagus, and C. H. Brackett 
mushrooms, with which his skill had produced striking results. 
The American Wonder still led the peas, but a new wrinkled vari- 
ety, Stratagem, was promising. Great improvement had been made 
in tomatoes except in the one matter of earliness. A fifteen-and- 
three-quarter-pound cauliflower was shown, and a new seedling 
potato called Leader was entered at the annual exhibition for the 
prospective prize. M. P. Wilder happened by, and exclaimed 
" Good enough! " — prophetically. The advance made in popular 
interest by the exhibitions as a whole is well shown by the rise 
within a few years of the receipts at the four paying exhibitions — 
from six hundred to thirty-six hundred dollars. 

The year was a very significant one for the Garden Committee 
also. On the thirteenth of June they received an invitation from 
Elizur Wright to visit the Middlesex Fells. Six miles from Boston, 
the Fells seemed to Wright exactly suitable for a magnificent natu- 
ral park; and his idea was to buy them with subscribed money at 
their assessed value, and then ask the State to take them by right of 
eminent domain and make them, as it easily could, into as fine 
a park as any in the country. The reason that Boston was behind 
other cities in the park movement was that hereabouts were ex- 
ceptionally beautiful suburbs, with much more open space than 


other cities possessed, and the lack of public parks was not so 
soon felt. We need not go into the history of the Metropolitan Park 
System. It is enough to note that as a result of the visits to the 
Fells and the Waverley Oaks, the Committee urged their reserva- 
tion for public use and enjoyment, and that thus the Massachu- 
setts Horticultural Society played a prominent part in arousing 
and developing public interest in the subject. 2 We have seen that 
the lectures and discussions, now free to all, contributed largely 
towards the allied matter of preserving forest trees; and in Sep- 
tember, indeed, the American Forestry Congress held a three-day 
session in the Society's large hall, when papers were read, and 
visits made to the Arboretum, Middlesex Fells, and other places, 
including the extensive forest plantation of Joseph S. Fay at 
Wood's Hole. 

Another place visited by the Committee was the Arnold Ar- 
boretum, still in its infancy, for the seeds of the first trees were 
planted in 1874. A large part of the hundred and sixty-five varied 
acres consisted of only nursery plants, because the laying of 
some of the roadways had not been completed. There were over 
two thousand species and varieties of woody plants, and the her- 
barium; and the record already showed several thousand plants 
to have been annually distributed all over the world. " One of the 
grandest educational institutions this generation has been blessed 
with," reported the Committee. Other places visited during the 
season were several vineyards, of which detailed descriptions 
were reported, with the Committee's decision that for amateurs 
the best grapes were Moore's Early and Hayes, next the Worden, 
and later the Concord and the Niagara. Mrs. Mary E. Goddard's 
tasteful garden in Hopedale won a prize on the nineteenth of 
August; and later a visit was made to the Boston Asylum and 
Farm School's hundred and fifty acres on Thompson's Island, — 
not a penal or pauper establishment, but a place for indigent boys. 
In accordance with the rules of the State Board of Agriculture, it 
was voted on the first of August, 1885, that three prizes, ten, eight, 
and six dollars, should be offered for the best committee reports; 
and the first was won by the Committee on Gardens. It may be 

2 Transactions, 1894. Lecture by Sylvester Baxter, once Secretary of the Com- 


added here that the State Board also required the offering of a 
prize of ten dollars for the best plantation of ship timber! 

The Library's circumstances were unchanged at the end of the 
year 1885 except for the worse, and W. E. Endicott and Robert 
Manning had already exhausted their superlatives to express the 
necessity for more room. A not unnatural reaction was the claim 
on the part of some members that many useless books were being 
bought — for the records betrayed the fact that some were almost 
never taken out. But " statistics of circulation are out of the argu- 
ment," replied Manning, " as regards a library whose maintenance 
insures the preservation of the best fruits of advanced research, in 
a repository accessible to scholars and students. . . . The benefit 
reaped from it by the community cannot be reckoned by any 
method of statistics. . . . Decidedly the most valuable part of our 
library consists of books by no means adapted or intended for gen- 
eral circulation." It is enough that we can now rejoice that this 
wise and scholarly view of the situation prevailed. 

The necrology for the past year included several well-known 
names, and the grief of the aged Marshall P. Wilder, especially at 
the loss of his old friend, Charles Downing, stands out with 
pathetic strength. " Ere long I shall follow him; but I fondly trust 
that we shall meet again in those celestial realms where we may 
gather fruits from the tree of life, that perish not with the using. 
Oh yes ! there is another life above, where we may meet the friends 
we love." The two had been closely associated for nearly half a 
century, and all the editions of Fruits and Fruit Trees of America 
had been dedicated to Wilder. " I never knew a more truthful, con- 
scientious and upright man in all the relations of life. As a pomol- 
ogist he was world-renowned ... he is gone, but his name will 
live in the hearts of grateful millions." The death of Francis L. 
Winship removed the last representative of the famous Winship 
nursery. Hervey Davis and Phineas B. Hovey had also died; and 
a committee represented the Society at the funeral of the latter, for 
he had become a member in 1829, and had been a vice-president 
for five years. By the will of B. B. Davis the Society received five 
hundred dollars, the income of which was to be used for prizes for 
the best seedling grapes. At the end of the year came the death of 
Charles O. Whitmore, whose faithful and able services on the 


Finance Committee we have recorded, and whose persistency and 
faith did the most to make the Society's building a reality. It now 
transpired that the Nominating Committee had urged him to be- 
come a candidate for the presidency, to which he would undoubt- 
edly have been elected, but that he had declined. Whitmore op- 
posed a movement to secure land on the Back Bay, and to him 
and to the late Edward S. Rand the choice of the more central 
site was due. 

The sinking fund had now reached the respectable total of 
$18,133, and the "surplus " was about $234,000. The stores had 
rented for nearly $13,000; the halls for about $6404, — for com- 
petition was becoming stronger — and Mount Auburn had re- 
turned about $2700. Gradually the receipts from the exhibitions 
were creeping up towards the cost; but the total membership had 
fallen off to 857. President J. B. Moore in his farewell address on 
the second of January, 1886, was able to congratulate the Society 
on the most prosperous year in its history; and indeed, its influ- 
ence both through its exhibitions and its lectures had never 
reached so far, the latter especially giving it a high standing in for- 
eign countries. President-elect Dr. Henry P. Walcott recapitulated 
and approved of the reports of the various committees, with espe- 
cial sympathy for the predicament of the Library; and passing 
from this to the crowded conditions at the shows of the past year, 
he urged upon the Society immediate and careful consideration of 
what seemed to him the most important questions before them : the 
alterations, if any were necessary, and the future uses of the build- 
ing they were in. 

A vote was passed on the twenty-third of January to request the 
State Board of Agriculture to consider the advisability of requir- 
ing any agricultural society receiving the State bounty to include 
the subject of forestry in their annual discussions at their Farm- 
ers' Institutes — an action which indicates how seriously the Soci- 
ety was planning its campaign. The " business " meeting there- 
upon turned itself into a " discussion " meeting, which was opened 
by W. C. Strong on the subject of Forest Interests of Massachu- 
setts. His argument was that the land, originally covered with 
forest growth, was now somewhat exhausted, and that the process 
must be reversed by restoring a fair balance between forest and 


field. The planting, he was sure, required and deserved the foster- 
ing care of the government. He then spoke of the Middlesex Fells 
in particular, and gave as his judgment that the Society should 
throw the weight of its influence towards the establishment of 
forest laws in general; indeed, two members of the Society were 
already serving on a committee from all of the New England states 
to promote appropriate legislation. The general opinion of the 
meeting was that existing laws for forest protection were wholly 
insignificant. A week later the subject was continued, and J. B. 
Harrison described the situation in fuller detail. He felt that a 
national school of forestry was needed, as formal and exacting in 
its way as West Point; that a periodical should be published, and 
that Boston was the place for a journal on the subject of higher 
landscape gardening, in connection with forest protection. Mr. 
Strong agreed, and added that the existing laws ought to be swept 
away by repeal, and a fresh code enacted. But three years later, in 
1889, we fi n d the same speaker presenting the same subject; and 
on that occasion the Reverend A. B. Muzzey exclaimed that the 
" indifference to it in Congress arose from want of intelligence." 
Perhaps he meant the word in its concrete sense of " informa- 
tion "! On the sixth of February, W. E. Endicott spoke interest- 
ingly on the gladiolus, with which some people said that no further 
progress was possible. The speaker reminded them that there was 
as yet no really good yellow variety; and this led the ever optimis- 
tic Mr. Wilder to say that there was no end to variation, — we 
might yet get a blue one, — and that he should not be surprised if 
some of the company lived to see a blue rose. He heard that the 
strawberry and the raspberry had been crossed, and could hardly 
credit it; but the blackberry had been crossed with the raspberry, 
and — " go on," he cried, " and make yourself famous." He had 
introduced a gentleman who had come with him, the Honorable 
James Grinnell of the State Board of Agriculture, who declared 
that in his report of the Society's exhibitions for the year he had 
been unable to find words to express his admiration. Bulbs and 
Tubers for Out-door Culture was the timely subject of a paper 
by Mrs. T. L. Nelson, of Worcester, at the next meeting; and on 
February the twentieth came a subject with much the most mod- 
ern flavor of any yet discussed, the Food Question, introduced by 


E. Atkinson. The upshot was also modern, in Biblical interpreta- 
tion at least: technical investigation had shown that Nebuchad- 
nezzar had lived on the fat of the land, as we did, — and when he 
went to grass he went to a more wholesome food. Yet another of 
the subjects which bear witness to the Society's growing interests 
was the Progress of Orchid Culture in America, by Edward L. 
Beard, on the sixth of March, — a general description, an exposi- 
tion of methods, and a description of many individual collections, 
— a patient, thorough record of what had been done. G. A. Bowen, 
of Woodstock, Connecticut, spoke the next week upon Homestead 
Landscapes, a subject which was closely linked with the larger 
one of tree planting and protection, then interesting the Society, 
and also with the coming era of beauty in the environment of the 
suburban home. He condemned the taste which would erect a 
Swiss chalet in a closely-built street — a thing which he said 
he had himself seen — and hoped that he should live to see the 
time when any man who cut down a tree of any description, with- 
out legal authority, would be punished as a criminal. A meeting 
on the twentieth of March was devoted to the subject of the care 
and embellishment of cemeteries, by John G. Barker, then Super- 
intendent of the Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn, but shortly after 
the reading of the paper appointed Superintendent of Forest Hills 
Cemetery; a week later Professor Caldwell, of Ithaca, gave a lec- 
ture on nitrogen in its relations to crops ; and next was held a dis- 
cussion, much like Wilder's paper of a year before, on the matter 
of nomenclature of fruits, in which the presence of many ladies 
led the Reverend A. B. Muzzey to invoke feminine aid in this 
matter involving questions of taste. It is interesting to find that 
some talk was held about encouraging the formation of local soci- 
eties, — an idea faintly suggestive of the present garden clubs. 
The season closed in April with a talk by M. P. Wilder on the 
ripening and preservation of fruits. At its conclusion Mr. Wilder 
expressed his belief that nothing conduced to the popularity and 
usefulness of the Society so much as these weekly discussions ; and 
when he added that he hoped they would go on long after him, we 
cannot say whether it is the timeliness of his words, or the fact 
that he himself led the last of the meetings he was ever to attend, 
that is more typical of his busy, happy, energetic, unselfish life. 


A stimulating increase of premiums — $3235 had been appro- 
priated for flowers and plants alone — no doubt helped to account 
for the beautiful exhibitions of 1886; certainly there were many 
new competitors, and the prize shows could not have been sur- 
passed in the space available. There were four exhibitions in 
January. February the sixth was the first prize-day, and in Febru- 
ary and March J. B. Moore and Son sent their hybrid perpetual 
roses. The spring show on the twenty-fourth through the twenty- 
sixth of March, — for this and the chrysanthemum show were 
this year lengthened from two to three days; it u costs no more," 
the Committee explained — was " at once conceded to surpass 
all predecessors." Just inside the Lower Hall were two collections 
of azaleas from M. P. Wilder and CM. Hovey, one of each group 
being seven feet in diameter. At the rear end of the teeming Upper 
Hall in front of a bank of palms were sixty Indian azaleas covered 
with white flowers, from A. W. Blake. There were orchids in great 
variety, and an indescribably beautiful display of Dutch bulbs 
from the Hoveys. In June of the year before a letter had been 
received from the General Union for the Promotion of the Cul- 
tivation of Bulbs at Haarlem, Holland, offering for this exhibition 
three medals as prizes for the best fifty hyacinths in pots, competed 
for by nurserymen; and this display, and a similarly beautiful 
one from N. T. Kidder, were the results. May was a busy month 
for cultivators, but the exhibitions did not fail ; and the rhododen- 
dron show in early June was the finest within the recollection of 
the oldest members. On a table running the length of the hall 
were over a hundred named varieties of tender and the same num- 
ber of hardy specimens of the wonderful plants, between which 
were grouped brilliant azaleas ; and for this magnificent contribu- 
tion H. Hollis Hunnewell received the highest award, the Society's 
gold medal. Surpassed only by these was a grand display by Mrs. 
F. B. Hayes. For the rose and strawberry exhibition at the end of 
June the same descriptive adjectives would have to be used as for 
the previous show: vases of roses exhibited singly occupied a stage 
running the whole length of the Lower Hall, and the Committee 
found no words to describe them, — " best ever, best ever seen in 
the country," they could only exclaim. The spirited competition 
had been largely due to valuable special prizes amounting to $235, 


and the Society had also taken over the silver cups heretofore 
obtained by subscription. With sweet peas — lately coming to 
the front — wild flowers, gladioli, and asters, the weekly shows 
were a procession of grand successes. The annual exhibition in 
September was commensurate with its predecessors, the inade- 
quate hall overflowing with beauty; and even the chrysanthemum 
show in November, though the plants would not stand quite so 
critical an examination as for the last two years, seemed perfect 
when viewed as a whole. Fruits were also splendidly shown. There 
was good opportunity for a comparison of strawberries because of 
many new varieties; the Belmont continued to do well, and M. P. 
Wilder's new Dorchester, if it proved vigorous and productive, 
seemed sure to take front rank. The Committee had gone back 
to baskets for exhibiting them. The fine display of pears justified 
the claim that nowhere could this fruit be so well grown as here, 
as the demand on the Boston market by Maine, New York, Phila- 
delphia and Canada also proved. Grapes, especially the Moores' 
Eaton, were good; and the apple crop encouraged the belief that 
it should be one of the leading products of the State, — for in the 
absence of space near cities and towns it was becoming a farmer's 
specialty. In 1876, when 340,000 barrels had been exported, we 
remember that an abundant crop was a disadvantage to the 
grower. Now a million and a half barrels were exported every 
year. $1624 was awarded in fruit prizes. The Vegetable Com- 
mittee's advice about offering prizes instead of gratuities for 
forced vegetables produced the result that they had prophesied: 
never had there been such exhibits. Science and labor-saving 
machines, the latter slow to be adopted by the conservative culti- 
vator, were now helping toward more abundant crops in general. 
J. B. Moore was setting high standards for asparagus: one of his 
bunches of twelve stalks weighed over four pounds and six ounces. 
At the annual show were fifty-five dishes of splendid tomatoes: 
hard to obtain at all not many years since, they were now coming 
in to the Boston markets from hundreds of acres. As to potatoes, 
Bresee's Leader took a silver medal; but one man had pruned 
several of his potatoes, and this suggested to the Committee that 
after all the proof of the pudding was in the eating. Any potato 
might look well; but observing that this sort of thing was labor 


in vain with them, they proceeded to have the competing varieties 
cooked, and judged on this basis! Out of $1030 appropriated $950 
was awarded. 

The Garden Committee's attention was mostly engaged with 
vineyards, as far as competition was concerned, for it seemed as 
though the prophecy of twenty years ago that the hills of Massa- 
chusetts would one day be covered with vines might be coming 
true. G. B. Andrews' Pearl Hill Farm, at Fitchburg, won one of 
the twenty-dollar prizes, and A. J. Bigelow's place at Marlborough 
another. The Concord grapes at the latter were of the finest pos- 
sible quality. Both men received the Committee with great hos- 
pitality, and afterwards furnished statements of their methods to 
be published in the Transactions. The Committee visited Oak- 
mount, the well-known estate of Mrs. Francis B. Hayes, where 
they had so often received the friendly greetings of their Presi- 
dent, and found that Mrs. Hayes had erected an even larger tent 
for the famous rhododendrons. They were no less cordially re- 
ceived at the estate of Charles S. Sargent, in Brookline, which 
everybody knew. " We regret to announce," they reported sol- 
emnly, " the death of the splendid specimen of Decora, which 
has been frequently shown at our exhibitions, and was one of the 
finest plants ever known." The azaleas and the rhododendrons 
charmed them, a bed of pansies in a nook surprised them, and the 
lawn which retained its natural contours won their special com- 
mendation. There were lovely views through trees and shrubs, 
the latter forming striking contrasts, and a pond, whose border 
was partly in its natural state and partly composed of rhododen- 
drons, which were reflected in the water. They visited also the 
grounds of W. Heustis and Son in Belmont especially to see the 
Belmont strawberry, which had been shown on the tables for 
several years. 

The Library was cooperating very effectively with the Discus- 
sions Committee. Works on practical details of culture were first 
obtained, and then volumes illustrated with plates, so that the 
appearance of a flower or a fruit or a vegetable might be con- 
veyed to readers who would have had trouble in understanding 
technical descriptions. A very large number of pamphlets had 
been acquired, especially on forestry, of course, for reasons that 


we have seen; and the usual rapid growth was increased by a 
bequest from Mrs. Ellen A. Cooke of her whole horticultural 
library. The Davenport collection of ferns, given to the Library 
in 1875, was this year reported on, and recognition of the donor's 
services was recommended, — the silver medal, for which the 
Appleton gold medal was afterwards substituted. 

The prosperous conditions of all the Society's departments was 
naturally matched by its financial condition. Occupation of the 
halls by the " Japanese and Aztec village " for many weeks had 
raised the income from them to over $10,658, and the stores 
yielded $12,892. On the first day of December it was possible to 
pay half of the mortgage debt from the sale of the sinking fund 
bonds and from the surplus, and thus the only indebtedness re- 
maining was $30,000 and the Stickney fund of $12,000 due to 
Harvard College in 1899. The State bounty of six hundred dollars 
was received for the first time. 

George W. Pierce and Henry P. Kidder had died during the 
year, the former one of the Society's most valued committeemen, 
and the latter a genial, philanthropic man especially interested in 
the improvement of the children of the city, and a member for the 
last quarter of a century. But it is natural that the Society as a 
whole should be most deeply shaken and distressed by the death, 
on the sixteenth of December, of the beloved veteran who had 
watched over it practically since its birth, Marshall Pinckney 
Wilder. After attending a meeting of the Horticultural Society 
on the fourth of December, he had presided at a dinner of the 
Agricultural Club ; and being somewhat tired, he took a cold from 
which rheumatism resulted, and was confined to his bed for a day 
or two. He then improved, and on the morning of the fifteenth re- 
ceived the Librarian of the New England Historic Genealogical 
Society, with whom he talked about the address he had written 
for delivery before that society the following month. Still better 
the next morning, he rose at the usual hour, breakfasted with his 
family, transacted a little business with his son Edward, and 
talked cheerfully with the physician when he came. The doctor 
inquired about his rheumatism. Mr. Wilder replied that it had en- 
tirely gone — then pressed his hand to his heart, and in an instant 
was dead. His funeral took place from the Second Congregational 



Church in Dorchester on Sunday, the nineteenth of December, 
1886, at two o'clock, and a private service was held at his 
house. He lies buried in his lot at Forest Hills Cemetery. 

His life is a very striking example of what one man can do in 
a lifetime without haste and without waste. Occupation was the 
elixir of that life, and being of strong constitution and sound 
physical health, he accomplished, or rather caused to be accom- 
plished, an amount of work which when reviewed seems incredible. 
The explanation of it lies in three things, the wholesome optimism 
of a thoroughly vigorous man, an instant and responsive percep- 
tion of whatever was admirable in anybody, and an extraordinary 
executive tact which was, in his case, the corollary of that per- 
ception combined with common sense. Perhaps it is well to con- 
sider also his dignified and commanding presence. But we must 
go farther, and confess that his liking for the praise of men — 
which his contemporaries perceived and he himself admitted 3 — 
worked for him instead of against him: it not only stimulated 
him to do thoroughly whatever he undertook, but it made the 
satisfaction in his own results entirely dependent upon the judg- 
ment of his peers. Thus depending on others and depended on by 
them, he never seemed the ambitious leader of a party, but merely 
the natural head of it. Those whom he enlisted felt their own pos- 
sibilities perhaps for the first time. Yet this powerful and virile 
man had the heart of a child; the youngest member of the Society 
did not accept more readily and appraise more accurately what- 
ever was new. Gradually with the years he became, as we have 
seen, the patriarch whose judgment, always asked but never ob- 
truded, was regarded as final in every matter. His spirit and his 
presence were part of the warp and woof of the Society; and when 
on New Year's Day of 1887 President Walcott rose to speak of 
the past year, the very walls of the familiar room must have 
seemed sad, and the bountiful season almost a mockery. 

" The future readers of the history of the Society," said Dr. 
Walcott, " will find it difficult to believe that this man, so promi- 
nent in our records, was equally conspicuous in many other or- 

3 The paintings at the Hall of Mr. Wilder on horseback must not be taken too 
seriously. At the time they were done Mr. Hunnewell might have been represented 
with an open, extended palm. 


ganizations, and was at the same time a busy merchant of Boston." 
Marshall Wilder was born in Rindge, New Hampshire, on the 
twenty-second of September, 1798, the son of Samuel Locke 
Wilder, nephew of Samuel Locke, D.D., President of Harvard 
College, and of Anna Sherwin, daughter of Jonathan Sherwin of 
Rindge, who was the grandfather of Thomas Sherwin, Principal 
of the Boston High School for over thirty years. Marshall Wilder 
was sent to school at the age of four, and at twelve he entered 
Ipswich Academy. His father, who owned a farm and a store, 
wished him to go to college and enter professional life; but the 
boy preferred farming, and later was taken into the store, where 
at the age of twenty-one he became a partner. In 1825 he went 
to Boston, where he conducted a wholesale business in West India 
goods in Union Street, first under the name of Wilder and Payson, 
then Wilder and Smith, and finally under his own name at number 
three Central Wharf. In 1837 he became a partner in the dry 
goods commission house of Parker, Blanchard and Wilder, on 
Water Street, with which under different names and in different 
places he continued until the firm was burned out in the great fire 
of the ninth of November, 1872. Already in 1820 he had married 
Tryphosa Jewett, of Rindge, who died in 1831, leaving him four 
children. In 1833 he married Abigail Baker, of Franklin, who died 
in 1854, leaving him five children; and in 1855 he married Julia 
Baker, his second wife's sister, by whom he had two sons. He was 
elected a member of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society on 
the twenty-sixth of June, 1830, and consequently soon became 
intimate with President Dearborn, John Lowell, and the other 
leaders. After the death of his first wife he retired to what was 
then the country, taking the former estate of Governor Increase 
Sumner, known as Hawthorne Grove, on the corner of Washington 
and Columbia streets, in Dorchester, where he devoted all his 
leisure to horticulture. His first contribution to the Society's ex- 
hibitions was a dish of Madeleine pears, on the third of August, 
1833, and his last at the chrysanthemum show of 1886; in fact 
his horticultural labors, particularly in cross-fertilization, ended 
only with his life. " Many will remember," says the chronicler, 
" the camel's hair pencil which he always carried in his pocket for 
transferring pollen." We have seen that he was President of the 


Society from 1841 to 1848, — the longest term until that of Presi- 
dent Burrage — and have witnessed his energy, skill, and un- 
wearied perseverance. He also served as a vice-president, a mem- 
ber of the Executive Committee until his death, a member of the 
Flower Committee, Library Committee, the Committee on Syno- 
nyms of Fruits, the Finance Committee, and several special com- 
mittees. By his will he bequeathed the Society a thousand dollars, 
the income of which was to be used for prizes in the improvement 
of the pear and the grape. He was President of the Massachusetts 
Agricultural Club, and of the Norfolk Agricultural Society; and 
his first address to this body, on the importance of agricultural 
education, was perhaps the first such effort in the country. Among 
his hearers were Governor Briggs, Lieutenant-Governor Read, 
Daniel Webster, Edward Everett, Robert C. Winthrop, ex- 
Governor Lincoln, ex-Governor Hill of New Hampshire, Charles 
Francis Adams, Josiah Quincy, Senior and Junior, H. A. S. Dear- 
born, Horace Mann, and many others of national reputation. The 
ultimate result was the Massachusetts Agricultural College, of 
which he was President for twenty years; and we may remember 
here A. B. Muzzey's words, " he was rare as an organizer and as 
a presiding officer ... of large intelligence, ready utterance, 
happy command of language, had that quick recognition of each 
speaker, and that rare self-possession essential to the chair. . . . 
He was impartial and courteous ... his prompt memory for re- 
calling names, dates and events with marvellous facility com- 
manded attention and dispatch. ... On the floor and as a 
debater a good voice, distinct enunciation, fluent expression, ac- 
curacy of statement, clear and logical thought and not deficient 
imagination . . . made him eloquent." And we must remember 
that he was nearly a self-taught man. In response to his invitation 
as President of the Norfolk Agricultural Society a large meeting 
took place, and the Massachusetts Central Board of Agriculture 
was organized, of which he was President until it became a de- 
partment of the State government. In 1852 he prepared a circular 
calling the national convention at Washington, which resulted in 
the United States Agricultural Society, of which also he was 
President for six years ; and after his resignation he was presented 
with a silver tea service, and a large gold medal of honor, inscribed 


" Awarded to the Honorable Marshall P. Wilder, Founder, First 
President, and Constant Patron "; — this medal he bequeathed 
to the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. In 1858, through his 
efforts, the Massachusetts School of Agriculture was incorporated, 
and he was elected President; but the congressional grants for 
such a college in each state soon afterwards obviated the necessity 
of it. In 1863 he was the first trustee of the Massachusetts Agri- 
cultural College. He was one of the founders, a vice-president, and 
Chairman of the Society of Arts of the Massachusetts Institute 
of Technology. In 1868 he was unanimously elected President of 
the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and held the 
office until his death; and for it he raised by solicitation nearly 
$84,000. In i860 he was one of the twelve representative men who 
received the Prince of Wales at a banquet in his honor in Boston; 
and in 1867 he was one of the United States Commissioners to 
the Universal Exposition at Paris, where he was Chairman of the 
Committee on Horticulture and Cultivation and Products of the 

His interest in politics was comparatively small; but in 1839 
he was induced to serve for a term as representative in the Legis- 
lature, and ten years later he was elected a member of Governor 
Briggs' Council. The next year he was President of the State 
Senate. His title of Colonel was due to a natural proclivity for 
military matters, — perhaps inherited, for the earliest ancestor 
he could trace was Nicholas Wilder, a chieftain in the army of 
the Earl of Richmond, who won the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. 
He enrolled at the age of sixteen in the New Hampshire militia, 
was commissioned Adjutant at the age of twenty-one, at twenty- 
five was elected Lieutenant-Colonel, and the next year was com- 
missioned Colonel of the Twelfth Regiment. After coming to 
Boston he joined the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company; 
and in 1851 accepted the command after declining to do so four 
times. He was a member of many horticultural societies here 
and abroad; in 1887 he received the degree of Doctor of Phil- 
osophy from Dartmouth College; and in 1884 that of Doctor of 
Laws from Roanoke. He received all Masonic degrees, including 
the thirty- third. His literary productions were many, but they 
always subserved his living interests, and consisted almost en- 


tirely of occasional addresses, essays, reports, and papers on flower 
and fruit culture. There is no doubt that of all his interests, hor- 
ticulture was rooted deepest in his heart. 

Whether judged by his own works or by the incalculable reach 
of his influence, Marshall P. Wilder may properly be considered 
one of the foremost actors in many of the great events of his age ; 
and to him more than to any other man was due the credit of 
placing the art and science of pomology and horticulture abreast 
of the other sciences in our country. It was true, as the National 
Horticultural Society of France wrote, that Wilder reflected the 
highest credit on the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and on 
the country; but a greater tribute than this was the unreserved 
affection of his fellow-workers, from the most distinguished 
scientist in the world to the simplest cultivator who had ever seen 
his smile or felt the friendly pressure of his hand. 

Chapter XIV ■ 1 88 7-1 892. EXPANSION 

THE need of larger halls for the annual exhibitions was 
met for 1887 by securing the great hall of the Mechanics' 
Building, — for the American Pomological Society was 
to share in the display; but the Committee appointed on the sec- 
ond of January, 1886, to consider the President's suggestion about 
the matter of space, reported in December that they did not be- 
lieve adequate alterations on the present building could be made. 
They had, however, prepared an alternative plan, which was that 
the President should petition the Mayor of Boston for authority 
to erect a building of the same general character as the present 
one, and covering at least 15,000 square feet, on the Public 
Garden, at some point on Boylston Street. The Committee — 
C. S. Sargent, C. M. Hovey and F. L. Ames — believed that this 
plan, if adopted, would be of advantage both to the Society and 
to the City; and further suggested that the second story of the 
building should be finished as offices and offered to the City for the 
use, without rent, of the Municipal Board of Park Commissioners, 
who would thus become closely associated with the Society, the 
" influence of which might properly be exerted in shaping and 
influencing " the park policy of the City. The building was to be 
supplemented by a large tent for the principal exhibitions, and 
was to cost about fifty thousand dollars. The proposal was put 
to vote and passed. It does not seem strange that " much mis- 
apprehension arose in regard to the effort to obtain the use of 
ground in the Public Garden "; and even though the Boston Soci- 
ety of Natural History voted to endorse the plan, the City refused 
the petition. The leading newspapers approved heartily of it, and 
it was signed by many of the most prominent citizens; but the law 
officers of the City advised the Council that such use of the public 
grounds did not come within the provisions of the statute estab- 
lishing the Public Garden; and the plan was perforce abandoned. 
The Committee found that with the rise in real estate values there 


was no proportional increase in rental, because the building was 
not well enough adapted to business requirements in the vicinity. 
There was nothing to do but study the question of changes. 

The Botanic Garden of Harvard College had during the year 

1886 held a series of instructive exhibitions at the Hall — without 
contending for prizes ; and this led President Walcott in his annual 
address in January, 1887, to ask whether the Society might not do 
well to help such scientific work along. But it was during the year 

1887 that the United States Experiment Stations were started. 
He also recommended that the services of distinguished experts 
should be obtained as a help for the committees in awarding prizes, 
— a wise means of giving the awards that critical quality which of- 
ficial judgment should have before the public, and of making the 
certificate of merit valuable in commerce, as was that of the Lon- 
don Society. This suggestion was favorably acted upon at once. 

Discussion meetings for 1887 began on January the eighth with 
the subject of the propagation, planting and grouping of native 
trees. The next week came a talk by A. H. Fewkes on the varie- 
ties of the chrysanthemum, which even now were in the thousands, 
and were soon to bewitch the entire country. He spoke especially 
of the two Japanese varieties, Source d'Or and L'incomparable, and 
the leader of the dark varieties, Cullingfordii. A week later O. B. 
Hadwen spoke on the degeneration of fruits and vegetables, a 
little understood subject which drew the closest attention of the 
audience. W. C. Strong preferred the term " liability to disease " 
to " degeneration "; and Mrs. H. L. T. Wolcott asked if the same 
Power which limited the life of man to seventy years could not 
have limited the lives of trees also. There may be a consciousness 
of old age on their part, she added; whereupon Mr. Hovey replied 
that the Creator had endowed plants with the power of perpetua- 
tion by grafting, which he had not given to animals. Another sub- 
ject which awakened discussion was introduced by Miss Sara J. 
Smith of Hartford, who spoke upon horticultural education for 
women; the argument was that the attraction of the city and the 
idea that labor was degrading accounted for the lack of interest 
in horticulture among girls. This gave Mrs. Wolcott an opportu- 
nity to express her regret that the window garden movement in 
1878 had not been continued. Mr. Hovey said that garden work 


was pretty hard, and that his children had all they could do with 
going to school; whereupon Miss Smith asked if garden work was 
any harder than playing lawn tennis. Mr. Hovey said that spading 
was harder, and that it was cold to go to the greenhouse through 
three feet of snow at midnight with the thermometer twenty de- 
grees below zero and in a blizzard wind, to attend to the furnace 
fires. Mrs. Wolcott rejoined that the care of a greenhouse could 
not compare with the burdensome work all day in a cellar kitchen; 
and Mr. Hovey seems to have become quiet. Ornamental climbing 
plants, and annuals and their cultivation, were the next two sub- 
jects, both apparently having the purpose of waking horticulturists 
up to the beauty of certain somewhat neglected flowers, such as an- 
tirrhinums, the schizanthus, sweet peas, Phlox Drummondi and 
zinnias. On the nineteenth of February W. A. Manda, from the 
Botanic Garden, talked upon native plants, — the hardy her- 
baceous and perennial, Alpine and rock plants, water and bog 
plants, bulbous plants, annuals, orchids, insectivorous plants, suc- 
culent plants, ferns, and greenhouse plants — which people had 
as yet hardly learned to appreciate. For the next week was an- 
nounced the subject Fertilizers — Agricultural, Physical, Intel- 
lectual and Moral, by the Rev. Frederick N. Knapp of Plym- 
outh; but Mr. Knapp could not be present, and it was postponed. 
On the fifth of March the question of the degeneration of fruits 
was again investigated in connection with the subject of rational 
fertilization of garden crops and fruits, lectured upon by Dr. 
C. A. Goessmann of the Experiment Station at Amherst; and we 
see how earnestly and systematically the Society was planning its 
work. Dr. Goessmann of course championed chemistry; and in the 
discussion which followed, W. C. Strong's remark that few people 
could follow such a paper exactly indicates the practical value of 
the experiment stations. How well the increasing knowledge — 
including that derived from Darwin's teachings — was being di- 
gested, is well shown in a lecture by J. H. Bourn about two years 
later, when he observed, " Few wild fruits become extinct. Nature 
permits no deterioration unless she is interfered with. We think we 
raise the standard, but it is an artificial one, and must be main- 
tained by artificial care, lacking which Nature goes back to her 
original criterion." We need not stop over the next lecture, which 


was on the progress of commercial floriculture, except to note 
that the road to success was, for the florist, in the direction of a 
cultivated artistic taste, and that the lecturer, W. G. Stewart, could 
hardly wonder if horticultural exhibitions pure and simple should 
lose ground with the public when there were such excellent free 
exhibitions in the florists' windows on Tremont Street. Florists 
now had a splendid national society, and were beginning to act 
for themselves. A week later the embellishment of grounds with 
trees and shrubs was talked over in a general discussion which was 
critical without being notably constructive, and A. B. Muzzey told 
how Longfellow's spreading chestnut tree had finally been cut 
down because it obstructed an alderman's view, — after which 
tragedy the poet walked on another street. The last meeting of 
the winter, on March the nineteenth, had as its subject Horticul- 
tural Reminiscences, and had been originally assigned to M. P. 
Wilder. Daniel Needham took it up, but in a somewhat O tem- 
poral O mores! vein which, in connection with the spirit of the 
previous meeting, perhaps shows how sorely Wilder 's loss was felt. 
He deplored the time wasted in base-ball and rowing at college, 
when the same energy might have been used in truck gardens ; he 
was disgusted with " a leading religious paper in Boston " for an 
article discouraging young ladies from qualifying themselves for 
housekeepers. " The key to power is wealth," he concluded, " the 
key to wealth is agriculture, the key to agriculture is knowledge 
and industry; and if the adopted citizen maintains his persistent 
industry and the native-born finds contentment in idleness, the 
future of the Republic can be easily read." The hearers must have 
agreed with all he said, and must have been profoundly depressed. 
At the spring exhibition of 1887 the Lower Hall was made by 
W. A. Manda with plants from the Harvard Botanic Garden to 
represent a garden in spring; and in the grand display of flowering 
bulbs brought out by the Royal Union of Holland premiums, the 
gold medal was awarded to N. T. Kidder for fifty hyacinths. The 
fragrance of the roses and azaleas permeated the garden, and 
on the last day a school of seventy young ladies visited it with un- 
bounded delight. Two new roses were brought into prominence, the 
Papa Gontier and the Puritan. Mrs. Hayes and H. H. Hunnewell 
did most on the fourth of June to support the display of rhodo- 


dendrons, which were better a week later; and to the splendid 
show of roses on June the twenty-first and twenty-second the 
Arboretum sent a collection, interesting especially to botanists, 
of forty different species from all over the world. At the annual 
show at Mechanics' Hall in September, the opportunity for artis- 
tic groupings of plants was skilfully and beautifully utilized; one 
splendid feature was John Simpkins' large tank of water-lilies from 
all over the world, which included all sizes, from the little Nym- 
phaea odorata to that " magnificent lily of the Amazon, the world- 
renowned Victoria Regia." The chrysanthemum show in Novem- 
ber, stimulated by generous prizes, attracted a larger number of 
competitors and displayed better plants than ever before. The 
year's appropriation of $3454 was almost entirely used for prizes 
and gratuities. The Fruit Committee reported a continued in- 
crease in the apple crop on the odd year, — brought about some- 
times by the cankerworm's depredations for a year or two, and 
then by a single year of late frosts. This year the supply of apples 
had reached the demand. The Belmont, Jewell and Sharpless were 
the largest prize-winners among strawberries. Lately there had 
been some tendency to sacrifice quality to size, however; and while 
these three sold best in the market, the Constance, Wilder, Ju- 
cunda and Hervey Davis seemed the best for the table. At the 
annual exhibition the American Pomological Society was not for- 
midable as a rival, for crops had failed in the West; but its mem- 
bers were excellent companions at dinner and on excursions down 
the harbor and elsewhere; and the T. S. Hubbard Company of 
Fredonia, New York, showed an enormous collection of 165 varie- 
ties of seedling grapes. The large number of prizes taken by a 
New Jersey exhibitor emphasized in the Committee's mind the 
disadvantage in the matter of time under which our fruits labored 
as compared with those from other states. A basket of Bartlett 
pears was shown from the original tree in Roxbury, — the first 
imported into the country; they were small, but otherwise equal to 
any of their kind. There were few new fruits during the season; 
but the year's results showed an increasing demand, and the culti- 
vation of fruit here consequently seemed to offer a promising field. 
Professor Farlow had written on the potato rot almost as soon as he 
was established at the Bussey Institute, and thirty years later bot- 


anists were still working on the same subject. It came in its worst 
form in August, 1887. The Committee were nonplussed about 
the causes of deterioration: first the Jackson White, Carter, and 
once unexcelled Chenango, or Mercer, had flourished and gone, 
and then the Early Goodrich, Davis Seedling and Gleason fol- 
lowed; and then came the Early Rose, Hebron and Clark. But 
the exhibit of squashes was fine and the tomatoes were still attract- 
ing competition. The peas represented largely the results of trials 
of English varieties, of which many were received every year. The 
only applicant for the Garden Committee's prizes this year was 
the firm of Warren Heustis and Son, whose Belmont strawberries 
had engaged their attention the year before; but they also visited 
the Hunnewell estate in Wellesley, and could not express their 
admiration at the rhododendrons and the azaleas, which were 
shown under a new circular tent seventy-five feet in diameter: 
these plants were then unsurpassed on this side of the Atlantic. 
The most striking feature on the estate was the Italian garden, the 
most successful at the time in the country. 

It will be remembered that in 1878 Mrs. Henrietta L. T. Wol- 
cott engaged the Society in a new activity, the encouragement of 
window-gardening, which for lack of proper organization lapsed 
the following year. She now took it up again, obtained, in April, 
an appropriation of a hundred dollars, and succeeded so well in 
interesting the children of the laboring classes, with their parents 
and teachers, that she was able towards the end of the season to 
obtain local halls to which children could more easily bring their 
plants for examination, and hoped eventually to secure sectional 
committees to take charge and report to the Society. The highest 
award was a dollar and a quarter, the usual one fifty cents, and 
others running as low as five-cent gratuities. The list of the com- 
petitors shows mostly American or English names, with a heavy 
sprinkling of Irish and Italian, and a German or two. In the year's 
report of the Society to the State Board of Agriculture, Henry H. 
Goodell brought up and commended the new movement. 

The abrupt fading of the prospects for a new building in the 
Public Garden compelled the Library Committee to resign them- 
selves to what philosophical patience they could muster, which 
they solaced by urging the construction of a gallery, and by giving 


warning that a new catalogue, preferably on cards, would soon be 
necessary. Even Robert Manning observed that there was no peace 
and quiet for a secretary in the library, though the portieres which 
had been hung on the door between the two rooms deadened the 
sound somewhat. Financial results of the year were very good — 
about $1213 from the spring exhibition, $306 from the rose show, 
$1023 from the annual, and $734 from the chrysanthemum show; 
but the experiment in hiring the Mechanics' Building was not so 
successful financially as it should have been — the Society's build- 
ing was still in the best location, and the Committee of Arrange- 
ments could see no possible policy for the future but " quality in- 
stead of quantity." 

As to the prizes, it had been voted in April that they should in 
future be apportioned according to the terms of the various be- 
quests, and offered under proper headings in the schedules ; and in 
May it was voted that no medal or certificate of merit should be 
awarded without the written assent, at the time, of at least five 
members of the awarding committee, and a written statement of 
the reasons for the award. The desirability of the former action 
arose from a custom which had grown with the years of comming- 
ling the incomes from bequests with the general funds of the So- 
ciety, without specifying in the schedule of prizes the various 
funds from which the prizes were drawn, — a natural result of the 
fact that when the Tremont Street building and real estate were 
obtained, the bequests to the Society were properly and of course 
legally applied, with other funds, in payment. The aggregate 
amount of donations and legacies at this time was about fifty thou- 
sand dollars, — all absolute except the Stickney fund of twelve 
thousand; and though definite objects were sometimes specified, 
such as apples for the French fund, evergreen trees for the Hunne- 
well, and vegetables for the Walker, in no case was the manner of 
awarding limited: it was entirely within the discretion of the So- 
ciety. The action of the Society was therefore merely one of jus- 
tice to the memory of the individual benefactors, and this was 
better expressed when in July it was voted to invest the donations 
separately, when possible, and to connect in some way the name 
of each donor with the prize which represented his gift. 

Many prominent members had died during this year: Henry A. 


Breed, the last but one of the founders, was in his eighty-ninth 
year; Josiah Crosby, a market gardener of eighty-two, was de- 
scribed as an " upright and downright " man with little taste for 
literature or art and a love for the one sport of rifle shooting, fond 
of children and pets, not interested in theology in the abstract, 
but a regular church-goer, though not a communicant, and liked 
by younger men, — a comprehensive description. John B. Moore, 
the genial, thorough, sturdy ex-President, died on the twenty-first 
of August in Concord. We have seen the steadiness with which 
he met both successes and reverses in his services to the Society. 
A deeper-reaching loss was that of Charles M. Hovey, who died 
in Cambridge on the first of December; for his life had been 
one continuous service not only to the Society, but to horticulture 
in general, ever since in 1832 he established with his brother 
the nurseries in Cambridge. We have seen that his Magazine of 
Horticulture, published for thirty-four years, was the first success- 
ful one of its kind in the country. With Whitmore he had per- 
sistently, as President, advocated the building of the Tremont 
Street hall, and it was obtained largely through his energy. " A 
man of very distinct convictions and very energetic ways of stat- 
ing them," as his friends said, he made nevertheless an excellent 
president, and at his death was undoubtedly one of the first horti- 
culturists of the country. In spite of his apparent skepticism as to 
the value to the Society at large of such a library as Parkman and 
Rand advocated, he yielded to their judgment ; and his own library 
was one of the best in the country on those subjects which inter- 
ested him. Elected to membership in 1833, he served at different 
times on the Library Committee, the Flower Committee, the 
Executive Committee, the Committee for Establishing Prizes, the 
Committee on the Synonyms of Fruits, the Fruit Committee, and 
the Publication Committee; and previously to his four years as 
president he had been a vice-president for two years. 

On the seventh of January, 1888, President Walcott heartily 
endorsed the window gardening project, and a committee of seven 
was appointed to take charge of it. On the fourteenth the Rev. 
A. B. Muzzey opened the series of lectures with reminiscences 
which have served us already in our narrative — for he himself 
joined the Society in 1844. We should note his belief that a free 


use of fruit was an effectual means of " resisting the sway of that 
prince of evil spirits and foe to all moral and national well-being, 
Intemperance," — a quotation from Editor Fessenden, of the early 
days. A week later G. M. Whitaker spoke on aesthetics in agri- 
culture, a lay sermon which, to judge from the tone of the ensuing 
discussion, seemed to reach the mark in several instances. The 
next subject was the cultivation and diseases of the unfortunate 
peach, which was baffling and discouraging New England horticul- 
turists. New England peaches, when they could be raised, were 
of better color and flavor than those farther south, and the lec- 
turer, J. H. Hale, had had better luck with those planted on high 
and dry ground, but he acknowledged that luck seemed to be a 
large factor, for he had found the yellows incurable. The lecture 
on the eleventh of February, by Professor W. 0. Atwater of Wes- 
leyan College, on Late Progress in the Applications of Science 
to Plant Culture, was a scientific, exhaustive investigation which 
well illustrated the benefit of research; and like that which he 
had delivered several years before on the chemistry of the feed- 
ing of plants, left his hearers better prepared to cultivate intel- 
ligently. Robert Farquhar, who had recently visited Holland, next 
gave an account of what he had seen and learned at the great bulb 
gardens about Haarlem, a matter which had been interesting 
American cultivators, through the Dutch prizes, particularly in 
hyacinths and tulips. The following week Dr. C. H. Fernald, of 
Amherst, lectured on injurious insects — a disagreeable subject 
which was always forcing itself to the front, and was to assume 
dire proportions later in the case of the gypsy and the brown-tail 
moth. A very different and much more restful subject was that of 
the third of March by Mrs. Fannie A. Deane, — the influence of 
flowers upon national life. The visit of Alexander to the rose gar- 
dens of Semiramis, the superstitions of India, the heraldry of the 
Middle Ages, the golden lilies of Henry the Fourth at Ivry — ar- 
chitecture, in the " chapiters of lily work " at Solomon's Temple, 
literature through all the ages to Wordsworth, testified to this in- 
herent power. But she kept clear of sentimentality, and indeed, ex- 
pressly pointed out that the standard of a proper combination of 
reason and emotion could be had only by beginning with children. 
The Chairman declared that this was Ladies' Day; and Mrs. 


H. L. T. Wolcott at once spoke upon her beloved window-garden- 
ing, for which her Committee had lately received a letter of en- 
couragement from Phillips Brooks. She was well seconded by Mr. 
Strong, who deplored the popular bad taste as exemplified by an 
order he himself had received upon the death of a butcher for the 
head of a bullock in flowers, with all details specified, and another 
of an express wagon for the funeral of one whose vocation it sym- 
bolized. Mrs. Wolcott added that a visit to Forest Hills on Deco- 
ration Day had made her come away almost sick. The largest 
audience of the season came the next week to hear William H. 
Spooner talk on hybrid roses ; and a magnificent display of them 
from Mrs. F. B. Hayes graced the occasion. Next came a descrip- 
tion of methods of labelling trees and plants, by R. T. Jackson; 
and on the twenty-fourth came the lecture by the Reverend F. N. 
Knapp on Fertilizers: Agricultural, Intellectual, Moral and Po- 
litical, postponed from last year. The title perhaps led the hearers 
to fear overstrained analogies, but the reader finds an interest- 
ing parallel drawn between the fertilization of plants according 
to the needs of each, and President C. W. Eliot's elective system 
at the colleges, where minds were developed in the same way, in- 
stead of that " Procrustean bed on which formerly we all had to 
be stretched." The times were waxing late for ploughing and har- 
rowing the young mind with the dead languages; and Mr. Knapp 
believed that fewer Greek verbs and gods, more divine laws of 
nature and society, live ideas and live teachers, were the de- 
siderata. The recent death of Asa Gray, fresh in the minds of all, 
supplied him with a moral parallel : he considered Gray's most re- 
vealing book How Plants Behave, for it showed the source of 
the author's strength and magnetic influence to be that St. Francis- 
like attitude towards plants which seemed to consider them ani- 
mated beings, responsive to human affection. Politically, the anal- 
ogy was even more obvious — the fertilizing ideas of Lowell, 
Emerson and Whittier, and the very words Marathon and Ther- 
mopylae when heard by the modern Spartan. 

Excessive summer rains and early autumn frosts resulted in 
meagre weekly shows during 1888; and some of the usual large 
collections of plants also failed to appear. Among the increasing 
additions to the large family of roses was the James Comley, which 


on the tenth of March took the prospective prize for the best seed- 
ling since 1880. At the spring exhibition N. T. Kidder's splendid 
collection of Indian azaleas won the Lyman plate; and the com- 
plete display of spring bulbs competing for the nine medals of- 
fered by the General Union of Holland, and the Society's fifty- 
five prizes, showed how keenly the interest in them had become. 
John L. Gardner made a grand display of azaleas in May, and Mrs. 
Hayes a superb one in June of hardy rhododendrons, which took 
the Hunnewell plate. Hot weather just before the show of roses 
at the end of June did not prevent an excellent display, of which 
the most interesting were Jackson Dawson's, gathered at the 
Arboretum from all over the world. On the twenty-first of July, 
R. and J. Farquhar showed a beautiful white tufted pansy called 
Queen, very valuable for florists' work; and a week later W. J. 
Martin, gardener to N. T. Kidder, exhibited ten pots of Achi- 
menes. August the fourth, prize day for sweet peas, showed how 
profusely this easily-cultivated flower was being grown, as the 
Committee had prophesied it would be. Of the annual exhibition 
the Committee said that they had " seen better ones ": a tank of 
aquatic plants and economic plants of botanical interest from the 
Harvard Botanic Garden were the principal attractions. But the 
chrysanthemum show in November compensated : this flower had 
now taken both horticulturists and public by storm. Enthusiastic 
importers, hybridizers and growers were concentrating almost all 
their energies on the introduction and production of new and 
more beautiful forms; and how well they had succeeded was 
strikingly evident in this exhibition, soon to become and to remain 
for a number of years the most popular of the season. Both halls 
were used; for the principal display in the upper the platform 
was arranged as a bank of cut flowers, with rich colors blending in 
a gorgeous variegated mass, while in the middle and on each 
side of the hall were the various exhibits. From the gallery the 
colors stood out in contrast, the pure white, the yellow, the clear 
lemon tint, or the warm orange hue, and near by the pink, the red, 
the brown and the intermediate shades. In fruits, the logical re- 
sults of the weather were seen in the cherries and the grapes. 
Strawberries were plentiful enough, but Moore's Early alone was 
up to the standard in quality; the tendency of the growers seemed 


still to be to strive for size. Sharpless, Belmont and Jewell were 
the leaders at the June exhibition. Apples, pears and even peaches 
were abundant and much above the average at the annual show; 
and even plums were increasing in importance through the intro- 
duction of new varieties, though the black wart was still uncon- 
quered. Because of the partial failure of grapes, only $1564 of the 
$1700 appropriated was awarded. The cold spring necessitated 
general replanting of vegetables; and the potatoes and all root 
crops were very luxuriant, while melons failed almost entirely. 
But insects were more to blame than the weather for most fail- 
ures. The Vegetable Committee had always given close attention to 
every scientific means of neutralizing the effects of an untoward 
season, and noted carefully the effects this year on the different 
kinds: tomatoes, sweet corn, and beans were late, but of un- 
usually good quality. Potatoes, especially Hebron, Clark and 
Rose, were excellent, and among them were two promising new 
varieties, Lee's Favorite and Charles Downing. On all five of these 
the Ohio Experiment Station had reported favorably. Ruby sweet 
corn, from C. N. Brackett, was a new variety. $917 of the $1000 
appropriation was awarded. In May the Garden Committee visited 
the forty-acre estate of John L. Gardner, in Brookline, one of the 
oldest hereabouts, and hence dowered with fine trees. Rhododen- 
drons opposite the house, Iris Kaempferi " almost equal to or- 
chids," and azaleas were commended, but the spring garden was 
the primary object of the visit, and here Mrs. Gardner's taste was 
evident in the restful beauty and seclusion. Mrs. Francis B. Hayes 
had, as we know, shared her husband's tastes, and in June she ex- 
hibited again to the Committee the large tent sheltering two long 
beds of rhododendrons on the sides, two semi-circular ones at the 
ends, an oval one in the middle, and square ones between that and 
the end ones. Near the house was now a twenty-four by sixteen 
foot tank with fine varieties of water-lilies, — these were now 
being cultivated in very many places. The next visit was 
to the famous small-fruit garden of Samuel Barnard, in Bel- 
mont, where so many new varieties were being produced. But 
vineyards were the chief competitors for prizes; and in their 
visit to Samuel Hartwell, at Lincoln, the Moore's Early grape 
was most highly prized among his six hundred vines, and the 


young Gravenstein apple orchard was considered a model in all 

Mrs. Henrietta L. T. Wolcott, Chairman of the Committee on 
Window Gardening, made a long report for the year: it was not 
hard for the Flower and the Vegetable Committees to chronicle 
improvements, she said, but " to report on the growth of an idea," 
and to give " a tabulated list of evidences of improvement in the 
minds of individuals " — particularly when that ideal report was 
made to emphatically practical people like the members of the 
Massachusetts Horticultural Society — she believed an impossibil- 
ity. The Committee had to make children desire beauty, and so 
was not downcast at such obstacles as florists' view-points, for all 
florists did not love flowers in the best sense of the word ; she got 
at the children through the Sunday schools. Orienta Hall had 
been loaned by N. J. Bradlee, and the Church of the Good Shep- 
herd, the Industrial School on North Bennett Street, and the So- 
ciety had supplied halls. Teachers in the schools were asked to 
mention the work, and the result was that two hundred plants were 
exhibited in the Roxbury halls. The daily papers gave favorable 
notices; as Mrs. Wolcott expressed it, a the Priest and Levite, 
who passed by on the other side, saw nothing of it; but their eyes 
are opening: already their words of cheer greet us." The best of 
all was that the doubting Thomases of the Society were also having 
a change of heart. Mrs. Wolcott asked for a little money — not 
so much as would go for a festive or a solemn occasion. Awards 
were from ten to seventy-five cents; and Mr. Louis Prang had 
authorized the Committee to call upon him for all cards they 
might need as gratuities. A pamphlet was soon to be printed with 
directions for raising plants in windows, an exposition of what is 
meant by well kept and well grown plants, and a list of the names 
and localities of native flowers. The appropriation of one hundred 
dollars had been used as follows: prizes, $15; gratuities, $40.02; 
printing and incidentals, $44.98. Children who had exhibited 
plants at Horticultural Hall — far from their homes — received 
a simple lunch, which Mrs. Wolcott reported as not in the nature 
of a junket. ■ 

The Library Committee, though intolerably harassed and 
cramped, had gone ahead with its card catalogue, beginning with 


the books and pamphlets acquired during the year. The indefinite- 
ness of the terms folio, quarto and others did not satisfy Robert 
Manning, and so on each card he noted the exact dimensions, in 
inches and tenths of an inch — the height and width and thick- 
ness — of each book, and the material and color of its binding. 
But even so patient a man as he could endure the congestion no 
longer; and without the least loss of temper, but with the full 
force of intense conviction, he expounded what the intentions of 
the founders had been in regard to the Library, what long-drawn- 
out nuisances it had tolerated for a dozen years, and what a sorry 
role it was playing compared with what it should accomplish. 

Help was at hand, though not in the form expected. On Sunday 
the thirtieth of December, at about half-past four, fire broke out 
in the halls, and was brought under control by the Fire Depart- 
ment only after an hour's stubborn fight. The supposed cause was 
meddling with the gas-fixtures in the Lower Hall by an employee 
of Francis D. Egan, the lecturer, who was to have held an illus- 
trated lecture in the Lower Hall in the evening. The assistant un- 
screwed the chandelier which hung just over the edge of the stage 
where it obstructed the views thrown on the screen, and inserted a 
plug in the open gas-pipe. The property man then lighted a match 
to see if it leaked. It did, a great deal; and the flames went up 
through the ceiling and through the floor of the Upper Hall, where 
they soon broke out on the stage, went on to the cockloft, and out 
in several places through the roof. The greatest damage was done 
in the Upper Hall. Artist N. A. Primus' copy of Munkaczy's 
" Christ Before Pilate," on exhibition there, was destroyed, as 
were the Society's paintings of Dr. Jacob Bigelow and Charles D. 
Whitmore, and a dozen other portraits were badly blistered. The 
six large side mirrors and the two at the end were cracked, the 
stage hopelessly damaged, and the ceilings of both halls spoiled. 
The total loss was estimated at from nine to ten thousand dollars, 
and the damage to the building nearly five thousand. The Library 
and offices, being in the front, were unharmed; but the stores be- 
low were damaged by water, especially the one directly under the 
stage, which was stocked with Deerfoot Farm products. The other 
stores dealt in men's furnishing goods, fruit and canned goods, 
confections, flowers, men's clothes, cut flowers and florists' sup- 


plies, books, bird cages and seeds, picture frames and weather 
strips, watches, and real estate. The result of the fire revealed 
structural defects or weaknesses in the building which the Inspec- 
tors demanded should be remedied. This meant as much again as 
the fire had cost, and the Society was in a quandary. Two meetings 
on the matter were held, at which views were expressed about the 
three possibilities, selling, rebuilding, and repairing: and a com- 
mittee was finally appointed to report with information and defi- 
nite plans. Rebuilding was at once voted down, partly because 
several leases on the stores existed, one of them to run for ten 
years, and to purchase these would have been very expensive. 
Robert Manning then moved that the Society should not sell at 
present; and J. D. W. French amended that it should, if it could 
sell for not less than five hundred thousand dollars, and if a 
suitable new location could be found beforehand. This amendment 
was lost by thirty-two votes to twenty-five, and Manning's mo- 
tion was carried. The repairs were not completed until the end of 
the following July, at a cost of more than $15,229, and the restora- 
tion of the portraits of twelve of the ex-presidents, with the frames, 
cost over $2245 more. 

Among the deaths during the year was that of Professor Asa 
Gray, elected a corresponding member in 1847, the Society's Pro- 
fessor of Botany from i860 to 1862, and well known all over the 
world as a botanist and as head of the Botanical Garden in Cam- 
bridge for more than thirty years. His interest lay in scientific 
study rather than cultivation, and he had been of great service 
to the Library by his advice. He was characterized by Francis 
Parkman, Charles S. Sargent and H. H. Hunnewell as industrious, 
honorable, unselfish, and above all serviceable; and with its love 
and reverence the Society justly felt gratitude and pride in his 
renown. Perhaps his reception of Darwin's work is the best index 
of his ability and independence. 

Manning's sternness about the Library may well have been 
aroused by the repairs on the stores during 1888, which cost 
$4000; but the latter increased their yield to over $13,669, and the 
halls to over $10,977. The net gain from the exhibitions was over 
$889. $5000 was paid on the mortgage, which was now $20,000, 
deducting the sinking fund; and the " surplus " was estimated 


at about $237,163. The favorable financial condition was largely 
due to the devoted services of George W. Fowle, who now re- 
signed and was succeeded by W. W. Gannett. There were 794 
members at the end of the year. 

After discussing the situation presented by the fire, President 
Walcott spoke on the fifth of January, 1889, on the comparatively 
small competition during the past year at the exhibitions, which 
he was inclined to attribute to a lack, in the higher prizes, of the 
desirable suggestion of a deliberate judgment exercised by a col- 
lection of competent judges ; and his suggestion was that the quali- 
ties of a specimen should be distinctly stated in writing, and that 
this statement should be subscribed to by at least a majority of the 
full committee. It could properly be committed to two or three 
experts, and be then acted upon as seemed best by the Prize 
Committee. Thus the specialist view could be corrected, if neces- 
sary, by men not limited in their tastes and requirements. He also 
believed that a cultivator ought to be able to exhibit a new or in- 
teresting plant, flower or fruit at any time. These recommenda- 
tions were acted upon favorably on the sixth of July following. 
Mr. Walcott next answered the gossip that undue prominence was 
given to fruits and vegetables in the prize schedule — an odd 
claim, for the Vegetable Committee had always felt aggrieved at 
their small share, and the prominence of the fruit department was 

The discussion meetings opened on the twelfth with a lecture 
on the evolution and variation of fruit plants, by J. H. Bourn, an 
intensely interesting paper touching the vital subject of degenera- 
tion, and profoundly Darwinian in its implications. But it was en- 
tirely expository, and if somewhat too learned, was also suggestive. 
We wish that a general discussion had ensued, that we might 
compare it with that of the memorable lecture on fertilization and 
cross-fertilization in February, 1877. A talk the next week by 
F. L. Temple on European nurseries brought a kind of astonished 
embarrassment over his audience, some of whom for the first time 
learned of the devotion and skill of hired laborers abroad, and of 
the amazement they would feel if they could see men in America 
of no more knowledge and experience than themselves owning 
and managing nurseries. Mr. Strong thought that it was useless 


to compete with such labor, and that the government should pro- 
tect us; Jackson Dawson could hardly believe the facts; and Mr. 
Faxon thought that we ought to select specialties and aim at per- 
fection. " Mildews " was the next lecture, a scholarly one by a 
professor from the Massachusetts Experiment Station. At a busi- 
ness meeting on the ninth of February a committee of five was 
elected to consider national and state forestry, and the need of 
further protective legislation; and the discussion followed the 
same subject. Jackson Dawson gave a practical talk the next 
week on hardy shrubs; and on the twenty-third of February came 
a paper on the embellishment of school grounds, by Leverett M. 
Chase, master of the Dudley School in Roxbury. He advocated the 
cultivation of flowers in school grounds, and pointed out that a 
great impetus could be given to children's interest if a prize were 
offered for the best-kept school yards. Mrs. H. L. T. Wolcott ap- 
proved without qualification; and added that though children 
would steal flowers sometimes, so would women, and even a man 
had been found guilty of it. Ex-President Hyde spoke the next 
week on plums — he kept iron pins in his trees, and went around 
every morning striking them, thus foiling the curculio. L. M. Chase 
recommended spraying with some of the arsenical mixtures, and 
said that the next report of the Department of Agriculture would 
deal with the whole subject. The talk on the ninth of March was 
by a very notable woman, Mrs. Ellen H. Richards, Instructor in 
Sanitary Chemistry in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 
of which she was the first woman graduate. She was a thorough sci- 
entist, and was widely known for her work in her subject; and 
after her death a memorial of her was presented to the Institute by 
its alumni. Her talk at the Hall was on the subject of certain phases 
of domestic economy, especially dust and dampness — an original 
treatment full of curious facts, such as the presence of cosmic dust 
in the Arctic regions, the structure of fog, and the reasoning of 
careful old New England housekeepers, who seeing dust in a beam 
of sunlight, and none elsewhere, thought the sunshine brought it 
in, and therefore shut up and darkened their best room — so that 
the resulting musty dampness bred organisms at the rate of many 
thousands a day. Mrs. Wolcott, however, felt that a person might 
as well die of bacteria as in an insane asylum, to which excessive 


care in housekeeping led, and decried the prevalent fashion of 
heavy curtains, stuffed furniture and velvet carpets. On the six- 
teenth Charles Eliot, the landscape architect, spoke on horticul- 
ture and design in the surroundings of houses, a theme which was 
being brought more and more down to people of moderate means, 
and was based on the possibility of leading Nature to express fully 
what she hints at. The next week the subject descended to the 
lowly onion, and the Honorable James J. H. Gregory declared that 
its fine but volatile flavor had never been discovered by any who 
had not eaten it as soon as it was taken from the ground. For the 
last meeting of the season no subject had been assigned, and by 
common consent the wintry March weather outside was forgotten 
in a talk about the meeting a month before of the American Pomo- 
logical Society at Ocala, Florida, and a discussion of the grape- 
fruit, or pomelo, superior to the orange for eating before break- 
fast with sugar, and growing in clusters. The Florida orange crop 
this year was about three million boxes, half the consumption of 
the country; and the delegates to the meeting were " surprised to 
find such able men there," whose " papers evinced surprising abil- 
ity! " This was the last of the meetings of the year, and we may 
leave comment upon them to the Reverend A. B. Muzzey, who 
pointed out that the discussions were showing progress in the 
power of expression, and that there seemed to be something in 
horticultural pursuits especially favorable to intellectual growth. 
Leverett M. Chase added that the membership of the Society was 
too low, and should be increased to two thousand. During the fol- 
lowing summer the Society received by the will of J. L. Russell, a 
thousand dollars u asa fund, the interest of which should be paid 
annually to some competent person who should deliver a lecture 
on the latest discoveries of the connection of the Fungi with 

The earlier exhibitions of 1889 were, of course, held at a dis- 
advantage, with repairs going on in the building. The February 
and March plant exhibits were put in the Library room, and the 
spring display had to be held in the Lower Hall. But the last was 
very gay with its orchids, flowering Dutch bulbs, and perfect roses 
— among which was a new variety, Souvenir de Wootton, sent 
from Washington by C. Strauss and Company. Spring had come 


two weeks earlier than usual, and the rhododendron show was 
given on the first day of June. The chief exhibitors were the usual 
ones, H. H. Hunnewell and Mrs. Hayes; and John L. Gardner 
had by trying out certain supposedly tender varieties through a 
number of years established the hardiness of Lady Emily Cath- 
cart, Mrs. John Clutton, Minnie, Lord John Russell, Atrorubens, 
Queen, and others. There were grand displays of German irises 
and herbaceous peonies. Unfavorable weather left not much to say 
of the rose show of the eighteenth and nineteenth, but the orchids 
compensated. Cultivators had seen the possibilities of the Iris 
Kaempf eri, introduced but a few years before ; and the exhibition 
at the end of June, though not for prizes, well showed the great 
progress made in new varieties. Besides the sweet pea, the nastur- 
tium and the aster were coming into great prominence. The dis- 
plays were very beautiful at the annual exhibition, though a few 
ornamental f oliaged plants interspersed among the predominating 
palms would have produced a less sombre effect. In the Upper Hall 
was a tank with water lilies. Again in November the chrysanthe- 
mum show proved its right to be called the crowning success of the 
year, an honor it was long to hold: not until 1907 did the great 
enthusiasm begin to slacken. Such wonderful cut flowers, — 
enormous, but perfect in form — as those sent by John Simpkins 
and Charles J. Powers had never been seen. $2967 was given in 
prizes; and by action of the Society on the sixth of April, any- 
body, and not merely a member of the Society, was eligible to com- 
pete. Fruits suffered, especially in flavor, from the constant wet 
weather. The bare ground of the previous winter resulted in de- 
struction among the strawberries, of which no new varieties ap- 
peared ; but the general demand for them was increasing steadily. 
Plums, peaches and grapes were unfavorably affected by the 
weather, and harassed by their old enemies — though help from 
the scientists was still hoped for. Grapes, of course, had a poor 
season; but news came from the Experiment Station at Amherst 
that the process of girdling the vines, by some cultivators thought 
to hurt the quality, had shown no such ill effect in their analyses. 
The Seckel and the Bosc were largest and fairest among the un- 
usually fine pears; but apples, in contrast to last year, had to be 
eked out with western ones at high prices, and the Committee 


urged cultivators to change the bearing year of their orchards 
by removing the blossoms for two or three successive bearing 
years on young or newly grafted trees, — fruitlessly, for we find 
them urging it again eight years later. $1562 was given in prizes, 
and to Warren Heustis was awarded the prospective prize for his 
seedling strawberry, Belmont. The vegetables suffered even more 
than the fruits from the wet, after a hot May. The first peas came 
on the first of June — the wrinkled sorts had entirely displaced 
the little hard ones. The great multiplication of canning factories 
removed the danger of overproduction for tomatoes, — of which 
however there was no fear in this wet season. A novelty of the 
year was a new bean, the Bush Lima, introduced by Peter Hen- 
derson; which though not satisfactory as to size, removed the ne- 
cessity of the old unsightly poles. $1000 was appropriated for 
prizes, — a third of the sum for flowers, and not much more than 
a half of that for fruits. Many of the orchids at the exhibitions for 
several years had been sent by Frederick L. Ames; and twice in 
1889 the Garden Committee visited Langwater Gardens at North 
Easton to see them. They found an indescribably beautiful collec- 
tion of between seven and eight thousand plants of over thirteen 
hundred acknowledged varieties, in seven greenhouses — one of 
the finest collections in the world, and containing more unique and 
rare specimens than any other. At Samuel Barnard's strawberry 
garden in Belmont the Committee voiced the criticism of the 
Flower Committee, — too much striving for size at the expense of 
quality, which meant that the berries needed quantities of sugar. 
As yet they saw nothing to take the place of the Triomphe de 
Gand, Keen's Seedling and La Constante, which could be eaten 
from the bush. The little estate of B. G. Smith in Cambridge, 
visited six years before, showed what one man could do. He was 
experimenting with fifty-five varieties of grapes in order to deter- 
mine the best dozen varieties for eastern Massachusetts. The great 
nurseries of W. C. Strong at Newton Highlands, to which his 
whole nursery stock in Brighton had been removed, were next 
visited, and the Committee justly congratulated themselves that 
such a man as he was in the business. Among other visits was one 
to the Arboretum, where the friendly Jackson Dawson of course 
made a delightful cicerone. He afterwards sent a statement about 


a fine bed of compositae. It may be added that in response to the 
rising interest in water lilies F. L. Harris sent a letter for the 
Transactions explaining his way of managing his lily tank. 

Prizes — the first a microscope and the others books, money 
and certificates of merit — were competed for in 1889 by thir- 
teen owners of windows full of flowering plants, and one contain- 
ing seventy won the first prize. Each window was examined by 
whichever committeeman lived nearest, and all were visited by one. 
Money prizes were awarded at the different halls in the fall. Mrs. 
Wolcott was much pleased with the results, and drew a moving 
picture of what might be done for the children of the poorer 

To the Library the fire had been a blessing in disguise; for 
now, among the necessary improvements, there was a gallery 
around the room; and a glance at its shelves proved how sorely 
it had been needed. The rearrangement of the books was a tre- 
mendous task; but the cataloguing of plates was in the " multi- 
tudinous thousands," and the card-cataloguing went on, new and 
valuable old books kept coming in, and more assistance was 
granted to the overworked Manning. Notable additions were 
Blanco's Flora of the Philippine Islands, and a large number — 
one of the largest ever given — of books from the family of C. M. 
Hovey, the most important item of which was forty-seven volumes 
of the American Journal of Science. Manning was also trying to 
get the publications of all the government experiment stations. 

The financial situation was unchanged, and therefore satisfac- 
tory, when on the fourth of January, 1890, President Henry P. 
Walcott thanked his collaborators for their support during the 
four years of his presidency, and introduced the new president, 
William H. Spooner. Mr. Spooner at once faced the question 
raised by the various committee reports, how to make the exhibi- 
tions more attractive to the public. Quoting President Parkman's 
warning against getting into ruts, he concluded from the growing 
success of the chrysanthemum show that special novelties should 
be introduced into the four principal shows ; and the only way to 
do that was to stimulate the production of hardy flowering plants 
and fruits. Adducing as evidence of such possibilities the work of 
Dana with the pear, Hovey, Wilder and Heustis with the straw- 


berry, Bull with the grape, the Hoveys and Parkman with the 
lily, Hyde, Tailby and Fisher with the carnation, and Dr. Wal- 
cott with the chrysanthemum, he believed that the " scribe of the 
Society at the end of its next half-century would have wonders 
to record far beyond the fairest imaginings." The present standing 
of the Society was well illustrated a week later when the Montreal 
Horticultural Society asked the Massachusetts Society to appoint 
one of two judges to award the prizes at an exhibition of winter 
fruits by the Fruit Growers of Canada. 0. B. Hadwen was chosen. 

An impromptu talk on the horticulture of California took place 
on the eleventh of January, and the audience listened open- 
mouthed to the description of a ranch, " as they call a farm in that 
state," the vast stretches under cultivation, the teeming jack- 
rabbits, and the vast scale upon which fruit culture was conducted. 
Next came an enlightening lecture on huckleberries and blueber- 
ries, those fruits so strangely overlooked by horticulturists, and 
with it a few remarks on the cultivation of cranberries. Fruits and 
Flowers of Northern Japan, by W. P. Brooks of the college at 
Amherst, commanded the closest attention of the largest audience 
ever assembled, on the twenty-fifth of January, — either because 
of the novelty of the subject, or because in accordance with Presi- 
dent Spooner's suggestion, programs for the discussions of the 
season had just been mailed to the members. 

On the eighth of February an essay by W. A. Manda on the 
chrysanthemum, the new " Queen of the Autumn," was of course 
absorbingly interesting; but just before it, at the business meet- 
ing, a matter of such moment had been taken up that fourteen 
years later it was still a thorn in the flesh of New England horti- 
culture. A Frenchman in Medford, with a little knowledge of ento- 
mology, had brought into the country a beautiful little insect by 
which he hoped through cross-breeding to produce a silkworm 
hardier than the common species. While he was experimenting 
some of the caterpillars escaped, — and the gypsy moth began its 
career. In 1889 tne pests were beyond individual effort to destroy: 
they stripped all trees, entered houses, closets, and beds, until 
luckily they reached the Governor of the State. The attention of 
the legislature was at once engaged, many petitions, including the 
one from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, were pre- 


sented, and in 1890 the sum of fifty thousand dollars was appropri- 
ated. The next year the matter was put into the hands of the State 
Board of Agriculture, and a like sum added. There were by that 
time colonies of the moths in thirty-one different towns and cities: 
their fecundity was astounding, and they were absolutely omnivor- 
ous. Finally Congress acted, and required the Department of Agri- 
culture to investigate the moth in Massachusetts ; in their care we 
may for a time leave it. We are unable to report the results of the 
Frenchman's experiment. 

A scientific lecture on the growth and nutrition of plants was 
given on the twenty-second of February, and was of course corre- 
lated with those already given on fertilizers; but it was at the next 
meeting that one of the most far-reaching of the Society's inter- 
ests was concretely enlisted, — the matter of the conservation of 
forests. It was unanimously voted to endorse the resolutions of the 
American Forestry Association, and to send copies to Massachu- 
setts men in Congress expressing the Society's approval, and urging 
that action be taken. This petition provided that the United States 
should temporarily withdraw from sale all fruit lands belonging to 
it, and effectively enforce this act until it should have been deter- 
mined what regions should be kept permanently in forest, and 
until a plan for a national forest administration should have been 
presented. At the discussion meeting which immediately followed, 
J. T. Rothrock, of the University of Pennsylvania, showed that 
the forestry movement was a great one, and that it must eventu- 
ally enter into the policy of the nation. He rightly judged that the 
law-makers would not act until the people convinced them that 
the question had to be faced, and that now, when there were no dis- 
tracting political issues, the time had come for action. 

The next paper, on the fifteenth of March, concerned another 
by no means local subject, horticultural education for children, 
which after being referred to the Committee on Window Gardens 
for action, echoed a long time in the proceedings of the Society. 
It was by Henry L. Clapp, of the Putnam School in Roxbury. To 
the schoolmaster's skilful analysis of children's behavior and mo- 
tives, he joined a convincing appeal for practical, attractive mat- 
ters in education such as gardening and horticultural experiment- 
ing could supply, adducing the good results in foreign countries as 


exemplified by our immigrants. His conclusion was an appeal for a 
prize for school gardens, and it was met by enthusiastic applause. 
The cause was won; and three weeks later, on the motion of 
Mrs. Wolcott, the subject was by unanimous vote referred to the 
Committee on Window Gardens, and the sum of a hundred and 
fifty dollars was appropriated. 

The year 1890 was, for the exhibitions, one long to be remem- 
bered. Not only was the season favorable, and the necessary ad- 
vertising thorough, but the gardeners, perhaps with President 
Spooner's exhortation in mind, and certainly spurred by special 
prizes of plate offered by sixteen persons and firms, — for the So- 
ciety of American Florists was to hold its convention in the halls, 
— used every known method to improve their flowers; and the 
exhibitions were crowded with perfect specimens. Music Hall was 
engaged, but plants overflowed into the corridors and even out 
upon the sidewalks, and the combined collections were pronounced 
superb beyond any ever seen by the many distinguished visitors 
from this country and abroad. It lasted from the nineteenth 
through the twenty-second of August. At the spring show Na- 
thaniel T. Kidder's Indian azaleas took the Lyman plate, and 
the orchids and Holland bulbs were splendid. In June Mrs. 
Francis B. Hayes showed over five hundred rhododendron trusses, 
of about a hundred varieties, — so grand a display that in con- 
ferring upon her the Society's gold medal the Committee termed 
it a slight expression of what she deserved. It is pleasant to think 
that she shared this honor with H. H. Hunnewell, who was given 
the medal in 1887, for it was her last exhibition. The rose exhibi- 
tion at the end of June was one mass of roses. Of the annual 
exhibition at Music Hall, at which an orchestra played every after- 
noon and evening, one paper declared that " all adjectives expres- 
sive of admiration " were insufficient. One seemed to be in some 
tropical forest, among palms over twenty feet high, with large 
Cycads on either hand, and the bank formed by the platform 
covered with tree ferns, arecas, gaily variegated crotons, richly 
colored dracaenas, the beautiful anthuriums, the agapanthus, al- 
lamandas and ixoras. The countless plants on the floor included 
fantastic orchids, and the majestic Amazonian lily, while large 
tanks and vessels contained the nymphaea and other aquatic 


plants, amongst them the Egyptian lotus and the Victoria regia. 
Perhaps the Committee's well-worn description " the best in the 
Society's history" may be safely admitted on this occasion. A 
new feature also was introduced, prizes for decorations of dining- 
tables and mantel-pieces, — considered anomalous by some, but 
justifiable as showing the increasing disposition to encourage artis- 
tic taste. G. A. Nickerson sent a fine Croton, called Queen Vic- 
toria; Mrs. J. Lasell showed a splendid new alocasia, brought 
from the Malayan Archipelago in 1884; W. R. Smith brought 
a large collection of wonderfully curious carnivorous plants; and 
Robert Cameron sent a collection of cacti. Each of these exhibits 
won the Society's silver medal. The chrysanthemums in November 
continued their improvement, in spite of a new enemy in the shape 
of a small beetle which could ruin the plants in the open ground; 
and Mrs. Hardy's Nee Sima collection was believed to be the best 
that had ever come from Japan. The results of this wonderful year 
seemed to be an infusion of new zeal and enterprise which were 
plainly seen in the years that followed. Out of $3300 appropriated 
$3272 was awarded. Cold storms while apple and pear trees were 
in bloom lowered the yield for 1890. The increasing interest in 
seedling strawberries brought two notable new ones, one from 
Campbell and Gowing, claimed to be ten days earlier than the 
Jewell, and another from the amateur garden of B. M. Smith, 
called the Beverly, which the Garden Committee also reported on 
without entire unanimity. The Dorchester was still supreme among 
blackberries, but growers were now giving little attention to them 
and to raspberries. Experiments for preventing mildew on grapes 
were shown at the annual exhibition^ as was the distinctly favor- 
able effect of girdling Concord grapes. These experiments were in 
charge of Professor S. T. Maynard for the Massachusetts Agri- 
cultural College, and were meant to show the value of spraying 
vines with the Bordeaux mixture. The exhibits of peaches were 
numerous, many being seedling varieties; and there were some 
fine specimens a foot in circumference of Crawford's Late, grown 
under glass and sent by Daniel B. Fearing, of Newport. Seven or 
eight years more were to elapse before the knowledge of how to 
control the black wart on plum trees became general. The fruit 
show occupied the Upper Hall, and near the entrance were arranged 


preserved fruits, meats and vegetables in glass jars and cans, from 
England, Germany and France, the first exhibits of their kind. 
The holding of the plant and flower show in Music Hall had left 
the vegetables ample space, and they succeeded without trouble 
in filling the Lower Hall. The season for out-of-door vegetables 
began on the tenth of May with good asparagus in spite of the 
threatening beetle; but rusts, blights and mildew were increasing 
ominously in all crops, and cultivators were eagerly waiting on sci- 
entists for help, especially those at Amherst. The best weekly show 
was on the twentieth of August, when the great new fourteen- 
pound hybrid melon Fay's Triumph was shown by Joseph H. Fay, 
who had been exhibiting melons all through the season. A new 
Lima bean, Burpee's Dwarf, was a welcome addition to Hender- 
son's Bush Lima shown in 1889, for now there were both large 
and small Limas in bush form. The annual exhibition spoke most 
creditably for market gardening around Boston, especially the 
great vegetable houses of Arlington and Belmont, where all 
through the winter and the early spring immense quantities of 
vegetables were grown not only for the Boston market, but for 
New York and beyond. Early in November a new seedling potato, 
the Vaughan, won a first class certificate for its originator, E. L. 
Coy. During the year $914 was awarded. The Garden Committee 
had had no applications for premiums, and forcibly expressed its 
belief that an appropriation of only three hundred dollars — and 
part of that obligatory, because it came from the J. A. Lowell fund 
— was hardly attractive enough for flower gardens, strawberry 
gardens, greenhouses and vineyards. For years, too, there had been 
no application for the H. Hollis Hunnewell triennial premiums. 
The latter situation was due to the inevitable passing of the old 
estates formerly so numerous near Boston, — an evil conse- 
quence, as Mr. Strong once said, due to the absence of the other- 
wise iniquitous English primogeniture laws, by which estates were 
handed down whole. Now progress brought railroads, public needs, 
the real estate man, modern flats, " cottage residences," the tree 
agent with bewitching chromos, — disappointment, neglect! The 
Committee were very gloomy; and we look ahead hastily until we 
find N. T. Kidder entering his estate for the triennial premium 
in 1892. They visited several places, however, — E. W. Gilmore's 


orchid house at North Easton; Oakley Park, R. M. Pratt's, with 
its three hundred lovely dendrobiums; the Hittengers' forcing- 
houses at Belmont, the market strawberry garden of Samuel Bar- 
nard, and B. M. Smith's strawberry garden at Beverly, mentioned 

The Window Garden Committee's activities increased greatly 
in scope during the year. The amaryllis and the narcissus, the 
latter " the variety lately introduced by the Chinese," seemed to 
serve the children's purposes as well as the faithful pelargoniums 
and begonias. But prizes were being used to buy candy with; and 
as Mrs. Wolcott was trying to cultivate a love of flowers rather 
than indigestion, the Committee substituted plants. They visited 
eight schools, where they explained their plans; and caused 13,000 
pot plants to be distributed in the state. There were forty-five 
plants at the first exhibition of the year in June at the Church of 
the Good Shepherd. An attempt was made to hold an out-of-doors 
exhibition at Franklin Park, and five hundred plants were re- 
ceived there; but what Mrs. Wolcott called a second deluge 
drenched everything; and it was postponed for a week. And the 
next Saturday, after a dreary week of rain and steamy atmosphere, 
was no better; and the state of the plants, kept in a cool, dark 
cellar after six or seven weeks in the air and the sun, could be de- 
scribed by no words in the language, Mrs. Wolcott reported. As to 
the matter of the horticultural education of children which had 
been referred to the Committee, general cooperation was asked, 
and circulars distributed offering prizes for the best collections of 
dried plants, ferns and grasses, with the suggestion that they 
should be correctly named and made the nuclei of town her- 
bariums. A response came from two boys under thirteen years old 
with collections labelled according to Gray; and Mrs. Wolcott 
said that she believed the correct naming of the asters and soli- 
dagos would have severely taxed the botanical ability of most 
members of the Society. She asked for younger members on the 
Committee, if any were available, and for the services of the So- 
ciety's paid attendants on the few occasions when they were 
needed: did not the Society vote the use of its halls to strangers 
for days at a time? 

The Library expanded freely and comfortably in 1890, and 


before the end of the year the books were arranged on a sys- 
tematic plan, though some of the shelves already had a back row 
of them. They numbered 601 8, with 5889 pamphlets, as against 
4800 and 1350 in 1884, when the last count was made. But in 
addition to these were nearly 4000 nursery, seed and florists' 
catalogues collected during the last ten years, for several reasons 
of unique value historically. Among the numerous acquisitions 
were Gallesio's magnificent Pomona Italiana, obtained at a rea- 
sonable price after many years of waiting, and Hookers Flora 
Novae Zelandiae. The estimated value of the Library was now 
about $29,628. The card catalogue had not gone ahead much be- 
cause of other work; for in whatever direction the Society's in- 
terests broadened, additional work came on Robert Manning, the 
Secretary and Librarian. 

Reviewing the past year, President Spooner in his address on 
the third of January, 1891, was gratified at the capabilities of the 
Society, as evidenced especially by the attendance at the chrysan- 
themum show; though this was in a sense a new fad. He then 
urged the great importance of proper representation at the World's 
Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893. This subject had al- 
ready been discussed, and B. G. Smith and O. B. Hadwen had 
been appointed delegates; but the Michigan Horticultural Soci- 
ety had been dissatisfied with the classification of objects to be ex- 
hibited in the horticultural department, and had solicited the co- 
operation of other societies in trying to secure a better one. Mr. 
Spooner was at a loss to account for the small membership — 
now 777; but ten thousand dollars more had been paid on the 
mortgage debt, leaving only fifteen thousand, and there was five 
thousand in the sinking fund. Mount Auburn had paid well over 
fifty-three hundred, and about twelve hundred and nineteen had 
been cleared from the exhibitions. Resolutions were passed on 
the death of Mrs. Francis B. Hayes, with sincere recognition of 
her great value to the Society and her loveliness as a woman. Two 
especially notable votes were made at the first meeting of the 
year, that the Society should cooperate in the movement for the 
preservation of beautiful and historical places in Massachusetts; 
and that the chairmen of certain committees should be remuner- 
ated. In February it was voted that the chairmen of the six prin- 


cipal committees should receive a hundred dollars a year, and 
other committeemen one dollar each for each meeting they at- 

The lectures mirrored faithfully the varied interests of the So- 
ciety; that of the seventeenth of January on evergreen trees, by 
W. C. Strong, was instructive, and Robert Manning called atten- 
tion to the American arbor vitae's adaptability as a common hedge 
plant. The subject of roses, the next week, was largely from the 
point of view of the market. Injurious insects and fungi were 
discussed next; and the estimate of loss from each was four hun- 
dred million dollars, according to the lecturer, S. T. Maynard of 
the College at Amherst. The talk on the seventh of February by 
John Thorpe, President of the American Chrysanthemum 
Society, was especially interesting. He said that twenty years 
had been needed to get present results with the chrysanthe- 
mum, and credited the English growers with the first efforts, the 
spark having been kindled when Robert Fortune sent his first con- 
signment from Japan. " Not many in America saw its possibili- 
ties," he continued, " but many of the Massachusetts Society — 
the greatest in the world — did, amongst others ex-President Dr. 
Henry P. Walcott." The beautiful flower was now of national 
importance; nearly fifty special exhibitions were held in 1890, and 
the annual sale of plants was over a million. Mr. Thorpe described 
and discussed it from every angle, and his hearers soon joined in 
eagerly. The old botanists used to say that the colors blue, yellow 
and red could not be had in the same species of plant; but that 
theory had been upset by the hyacinth, and the lecturer believed 
that he should live to see a blue chrysanthemum. A. B. Muzzey was 
delighted with the scientific accuracy of the expert lecturer, and 
used him as a text for his favorite advice to his fellow-members: 
select one object and master it, — specialize. The next week the 
Connecticut State Pomologist, P. M. Augur, spoke on the straw- 
berry and its culture, first remarking on the late enormous increase 
in its production, and then on the equally great improvement in 
quality over the berries of sixty years before by the Sharpless, the 
Belmont and the Jewell. The lecturer's exposition on culture, varie- 
ties and their management, and the production of new varieties 
brought out many questions and observations in the discussion 


that followed. We may pass over an instructive paper on the geog- 
raphical distribution of plants, by W. F. Ganong; but that on the 
Study of Horticulture in Public Schools, by Dr. Charles C. Rounds 
of the State Normal School at Plymouth, New Hampshire, throws 
light on the Society's attitude towards the new school garden 
movement. Dr. Rounds believed that revisions in the school 
courses of study ought to be progressively made, and that be- 
cause of the inertia of the traditional courses there was no fear of 
too radical changes. The " laboratory method " was the order of 
the day, and the garden made an excellent laboratory. This reason- 
ing he connected logically with the modern movement from the 
farm to the city because of the unprofitableness of the former, and 
then deplored the consequent lapse among the people of a culti- 
vated taste for natural beauty. The Reverend A. B. Muzzey, 
kindly and patriarchal, was profoundly moved by the lecture; and 
Henry L. Clapp of the Window Garden Committee, also much 
affected, exclaimed at the spectacle of a society with large prop- 
erty and income answering the proposal to spend money to in- 
struct children by saying that it was not a charitable institution. 
Leverett M. Chase also found that souls were being neglected; 
and the Reverend Calvin Terry explained by a story about George 
Washington, how horticultural studies gave breadth and solidity to 
character. George once found in the garden his own name grow- 
ing up out of the soil. He ran to his father for an explanation, and 
the father expounded the wonder in a religious lesson illustrating 
the beauty and wisdom of divine planning, as well as its necessity, 
and the omnipotent power of God as displayed in all things. " Such 
experiences did more to make the immortal Washington than po- 
litical influence in his favor." Mr. Clapp spoke again, and stated 
that a thousand dollars appropriated for school gardens would be 
the best possible means of attaining the objects for which the So- 
ciety was founded. Dr. Rounds deplored that everything now 
tended towards mercantile pursuits. A full understanding of the 
forces behind the school garden movement can, however, be ob- 
tained only by a perusal of the whole report in the Transactions; 
and perhaps the only possible criticism on the debate is that views 
and scenery and rural life were identified too closely with the food 
of the soul, and business and commerce with the snares of Satan. 


On the seventh of March William G. Farlow, Professor of Crypto- 
gamic Botany at Harvard, spoke on the diseases of trees likely to 
follow mechanical injuries, — an important matter in the early 
nineties, when trees could be used for hitching posts and electric 
wire poles. Messrs. Terry and Chase were pleased again with opin- 
ions looking towards the correction of abuses, as was O. B. Had- 
wen, who told what had been done by the Worcester Park Com- 
mission, of which he had been a member since 1867. 

Another discussion which cannot be passed over was that of the 
next week on the scientific education of gardeners, by Charles L. 
Allen, of New York ; for surely horticulture without the gardener 
would be the play without Hamlet. Mr. Allen characterized him 
as a man of great natural shrewdness and superior ability, a close 
observer and of keen perceptions, with an innate love of the beau- 
tiful, — but apt, alas, to think that a conflict existed between sci- 
ence and practise. With minute care the lecturer defined knowl- 
edge and science, cause and effect, and declared that with some 
knowledge of science the gardener attained equality and harmony 
with his employer. As to the lecturer's criticism on the subject of 
science, we have had and shall have opportunities for forming an 
opinion; but that a love of the beautiful is the greatest leveller of 
social distinctions created by money, and makes all men congenial, 
there can certainly be no doubt; and in no other walk of life does 
this sign of human equality appear so consistently. Mr. Allen 
named Jackson Dawson as a great practical gardener for trees and 
shrubs, Moore of Concord and Wood of Natick for roses, Dr. Wal- 
cott for chrysanthemums, and Robinson and Allen for orchids. In 
the pleasant discussion which followed, matters of taste were 
talked over ; and Robert Manning pointed out how great the com- 
prehensiveness of Dearborn's views had been as evidenced by his 
original plan, unrealized, of establishing at Mount Auburn a school 
for gardeners. 

T. C. Thurlow's plea for protecting our native birds has already 
been mentioned in our trial of that robber of cherry trees and 
strawberry beds, the robin. Mr. Thurlow of course complained 
only of wanton or unjustifiable killing, the latter being for the 
ornamentation of the ladies; and Mr. Chase instanced a ball dress 
worn in New York in 1883 covered with one thousand Brazilian 


humming-birds! Mr. Thurlow declared that robins were killed in 
the South in the winter because they were Yankee birds; and 
Francis H. Appleton mentioned that the extermination of the 
English sparrow was now being debated. The talk then went to 
crows; and the amusing stories that followed must not be spoiled 
by any clumsy effort of ours to condense them. " Ferns " was the 
title of the last scheduled discussion of the year, and was of course 
in charge of George E. Davenport. The ladies were greatly inter- 
ested in the fascinating plants, especially in connection with the 
new exhibits of table and mantel decorations at the Society's 
shows. So successful had the lectures become that in the latter 
part of the series they were held in the Lower Hall. 

In 1 89 1 the Committee on Plants and Flowers was split into 
two committees, and so continued until 1904, when the duties were 
again united. $6800 was appropriated for awards. New competi- 
tors among plants were Dr. Charles G. Weld, Joseph H. White, 
Aaron W. Spencer, and Joseph Story Fay, — the last of whom was 
in the following October elected an honorary member because of 
his good work in " clothing the barren hills of Cape Cod with 
wood; his services to horticulture; and his generous contributions 
to the exhibitions of the Society." In early March, Jackson Daw- 
son brought a new hybrid rose, a cross between the Japanese 
Multiflora and the General Jacqueminot, which promised a new 
type of hardy climbing roses ; and at the spring show he contrib- 
uted something new, " a pretty rockery." N. T. Kidder, Edward 
Butler and Dr. C. G. Weld exhibited fine azaleas at the spring 
show, at which roses were the feature rather than bulbs ; the tea 
and other forced roses being beautiful beyond precedent. Carna- 
tions were also establishing a prominent place for themselves in 
this show. In the summer shows two classes of displays were 
prominent, herbaceous and native plants, — a change of taste back 
to the flowers of the old-fashioned garden; and wild flowers, in 
which Mrs. P. D. Richards, E. H. Hutchings and I. E. Coburn 
were much interested. The rhododendron show was outgrowing 
its original limitations, and was very evidently destined to rank 
with the roses and the chrysanthemums. The attendance at the 
weekly shows was unparalleled, for there were beautiful exhibits 
almost regularly, — J. S. Fay's hollyhocks in June, Dr. Charles G. 


Weld's seedling gladioli in August, sweet peas from everywhere, 
and then splendid asters. At the annual show space was again at a 
premium, though both halls were used, and the fruit and vegetable 
shows were put over to the first week in October, to make room for 
the flowers. The annuals, herbaceous plants and shrubbery, the 
perfect dahlias, the flowering cannas — for which new prizes had 
been established — the aquatic plants, especially John Simpkins' 
nymphaeas and a leaf and a flower of an enormous Victoria regia, 
and finally the four decorated mantels competing for the Gar- 
deners' and Florists' Club prizes, merely represented the capacity 
of the halls. But the chrysanthemum show was the grand one of 
the year. It lasted from the tenth through the thirteenth of No- 
vember, and yielded about the same amount in gate receipts as all 
the others combined, — the profits being over $1166, and those 
of the spring show $609. Music was introduced into it this year. 
Tremendous strides had been taken in the cultivation of the chrys- 
anthemum since the days when the Chinese and Pompon varieties 
ruled; the Japanese were fast driving all others out. The plants 
were shown in the Upper Hall, and the cut flowers in the Lower, 
— some of the flowers " as large as a man's hat." For the greatest 
number of first prizes taken during the season, J. W. Manning re- 
ceived the Appleton silver medal, and N. T. Kidder the bronze. 
The fruits also had a thoroughly favorable season, and the apples 
never had been so plentiful in the odd year. Even peaches were 
abundant. Among strawberries some lately introduced varieties, 
the Jesse, Bubach and Haviland, competed successfully with the 
older kinds. Absence of frost in October meant good grapes, of 
which the Agricultural College showed about a hundred native 
varieties, and indeed cherries and plums were the only fruits not 
up to the mark. The remarkable year, with June and July cold and 
August and September warm, and one of the longest seasons on 
record between frost and frost, yielded an abundant harvest, — 
though a snowstorm in October presented the rare sight of blos- 
soms and foliage peeping through a mantle of snow. Joseph S. 
Fay's interests were comprehensive, as his cauliflowers proved. At 
the annual show the Hebron led the excellent potatoes ; the celery 
was very good — especially I. E. Coburn's White Plume; and the 
tomatoes unusually fine because of the stimulus given to their 


cultivation by the canning industry, which made them second only 
to the potato in importance. The sum of $947 was awarded. 

The Garden Committee in 1891 abandoned their custom of re- 
porting on their visits, and substituted written statements by ap- 
plicants for prizes — of which there were this year a satisfactory 
number. N. T. Kidder's greenhouse not only made it clear why 
his exhibits during the year were so successful, but showed what 
could be done in conservatory decoration; and the prize its owner 
received was considered unusually well deserved. J. H. White's 
spacious and lofty greenhouses in Brookline showed some fine 
palms. Dr. Charles G. Weld's greenhouses in Brookline were in 
two ranges, five on the lower and four on the upper, one of the 
latter being an octagonal conservatory. The Committee were espe- 
cially impressed by the magnificent cinerarias cultivated by Dr. 
Weld's skilful gardener, Kenneth Findlayson, who reported also 
his methods of growing cyclamens. The prize for the best market 
strawberry garden went to Varnum Frost, an Arlington man from 
whom we shall hear later in the discussions. Mrs. Mary E. Loud's 
garden of native plants was lovingly cultivated, and well repre- 
sented its class, though perhaps from a botanist's rather than from 
a florist's point of view. Joseph S. Fay's Wood's Hole place of be- 
tween seven and eight hundred acres was devoted to a garden, a 
farm, and woodland, the specialties being roses, hollyhocks, vege- 
tables and forest trees. A. J. Bigelow of Marlborough and S. Hart- 
well of Lincoln won prizes for their vineyards. 

Of the window gardening campaign Mrs. Henrietta L. T. Wol- 
cott said that the work was annually growing in interest — " out- 
side if not inside of this Society." Henry L. Clapp, Principal of the 
Putnam School in Roxbury, and lecturer on the memorable March 
fifteenth, 1890, had been authorized to begin the experiment 
which he then advocated of establishing a school garden. Mr. 
Clapp had promises of money, and planned to include in the 
school curriculum a study of the germination of seeds and the 
formation and duty of roots in every variety. Circulars were sent 
to schools throughout the state asking for cooperation, especially 
in the collecting, preserving and mounting for herbariums of plants 
easily obtained by children. Mrs. Wolcott herself wrote an essay 
on the Importance of Keeping Close to Nature in Education, 


which was read at Grand Rapids and at St. Paul. Her only com- 
plaint was that people were trying to have placed in schoolyards 
the tiresome geraniums, ageratums and salvias: what she wanted 
was to have the children not merely see, but take a hand in rais- 
ing. The plan of preparing dried plants, grasses and ferns was 
succeeding, and the December exhibition was good, but the gratui- 
ties were very small indeed. Henry L. Clapp in the spring had had 
the ground at his school prepared, and cultivated and wild plants, 
vegetables and several grains put in; and he believed the experi- 
ment would succeed. 

The death of Warren Heustis late in the year 1890 was fol- 
lowed by suitable resolutions in January, 1891. He had been a 
worthy representative of the Belmont and Arlington market gar- 
deners, and had been not only an esteemed member of the Vege- 
table Committee for many years, but a lover of the rose, and the 
originator of the Belmont seedling strawberry. On the eleventh of 
March, John B. Russell, the last survivor of the founders and 
corporators of the Society, died in Indianapolis in his ninetieth 
year. We have seen how closely his early interests were coincident 
and interwoven with those of the Society, and of what great prac- 
tical value they were. When in 1832 he sold his interest in the 
Farmer and the seed store, he engaged in publishing, and after- 
wards moved to Cincinnati and then to Washington, where in 
1868 he was appointed Librarian of the Department of Agricul- 
ture. In 1847 ne was elected a corresponding member of the So- 
ciety, and in 1870 he prepared for Tilton's Journal of Horticulture 
three interesting articles called Reminiscences of the Massachu- 
setts Horticultural Society, from which much of historical interest 
has been drawn. 

The Library Committee reported some exceedingly valuable 
accessions, Professor Sargent's Silva of North America, and Tus- 
sac's Flora of the Antilles, — the latter, W. E. Endicott thought, 
the only one in the country at the time. The Committee would not 
resume their annual cry for more room, they said ; but in the same 
breath they remarked that many of the rows of books had rows be- 
hind them, and that this was a " highly condemnable state of 
affairs." As to the finances, fourteen thousand dollars of the mort- 
gage debt had been paid, and the remaining thousand taken over 


by H. Hollis Hunnewell, in order that preparation might be be- 
gun to pay over the Stickney fund to Harvard in 1899. The rents 
of the stores and halls were well over seventeen thousand and 
seven thousand respectively, and the income from Mount Auburn 
about five thousand, three hundred and twelve. The " surplus " 
was now about two hundred and sixty-one thousand, two hundred 
and forty-six dollars, and the membership seven hundred and 
eighty-one. The year had in all respects been phenomenally suc- 

One of the first suggestions by President Spooner in his annual 
address on the second of January, 1892, was the election of 
Ephraim Bull, of Concord, to honorary membership — which was 
at once favorably acted upon; and another was a warning that the 
World's Columbian Exposition was fast approaching. In the fol- 
lowing April a room was reserved for contributions from Massa- 
chusetts to the great Exposition. Another item of interest was the 
report a week later of the Committee on Large and Interesting 
Trees, about which we have heard nothing since January, 1882. 
The subject had broadened and beckoned as investigation went 
on, and the Committee had asked for more time; now they had a 
list of trees in New England, and asked permission to print it. 
This was given; but, later, photographs were added, until the two 
unique volumes now in the Library were produced. 

The discussions of 1892 were not all upon the subject of the 
enemies of vegetation, but they reflect, as do the business meet- 
ings, how sorely our cultivators were beset with the gypsy moth, 
the curculio, the tent caterpillar and fungi. At T. H. Hopkins' lec- 
ture on the sixteenth of January on The New Orcharding, B. P. 
Ware prophesied that the extermination of the moth might cost 
eighty thousand dollars, — a conservative guess, as we have seen. 
The next week the discussion was wholly given up to insects in- 
jurious to fruits, — the curculio, and again the gypsy moth, with 
which the State had failed, as some said — probably unjustly, — 
because of incompetent directors of the work. It is worth noting 
that the lecturer, C. V. Riley of the Department of Agriculture, 
believed that more to be dreaded than native insects were addi- 
tions from abroad. Some encouraging news came from California, 
where the orange-growers' enemy, the fluted scale, had in the 


last two years been exterminated. At the end of the year a meet- 
ing was devoted to the subject of how to exterminate the tent 
caterpillar, the canker worm, and the codling moth; and in Janu- 
ary, 1893, one member was empowered to appear before the legis- 
lature on the subject. Fungous diseases and their remedies was the 
subject for the thirteenth of February, the second lecture in the 
John Lewis Russell foundation, but the first exclusively devoted 
to the fungus. Professor J. E. Humphrey delivered it to a highly 
interested audience, and began fittingly by asking for the dis- 
semination of definite acts about the relations of fungi to other 
plants, and of a few characteristic features of their life. The sub- 
ject was a new one, and Professor Humphrey likened its present 
state to that of fertilizers twenty-five years ago. He then gave a 
clear, concise account of parasitic fungi, illustrating them by many 
specimens, and begged his audience to assist him in investigating 
treatment for insufficiently known fungous diseases. Irrigation, and 
roadmaking and maintenance, were two other subjects treated, the 
latter provided in connection with the Bay State Agricultural So- 
ciety, and full of constructive arguments and suggestions. In 
February came an informal talk by Miss Maria Parloa, teacher of 
cooking, and of course many ladies were present, as was also the 
case at a lecture on The Ethics of the Flower, by Mrs. Fannie A. 
Deane. Arbor Day and the Schools, by B. G. Northrup, was a 
cause which, said the lecturer, should appeal to the Society which 
founded Mount Auburn; and his account of its beginning in 
Nebraska in 1872, its subsequent progress, and its educational 
significance, naturally appealed to those who were interested in 
Henry L. Clapp's school garden work; indeed, he referred to 
Clapp's paper and subsequent work as proof of the interest which 
might be expected from children. The effect on the audience, and 
especially on the enthusiastic Leverett M. Chase, was a set of 
resolutions to provide more specifically than had been previously 
done for the general observance of the day by the children of the 
state. J. D. W. French went further, and hoped that the Society 
would urge upon the schools the more general study of botany, 
horticulture, forestry and entomology. H. W. Wilson gave Some 
Considerations on the Subject of Heat, in March, — an excellent 
" physics " lecture on conduction, convection and radiation. J. W. 


Smith's paper on the relation of the work of the Weather Bureau 
— or Signal Service as it was first called — to agriculture, was ex- 
pository. The Bureau was started on the ninth of February, 1870, 
and gave at first only tabulated reports; but the public wanted 
deductions made, and a year later " probabilities " and synopses 
were issued, — now known as forecasts. Leverett M. Chase, in the 
talk which followed, said that he had taught his schoolboys how 
to use weather maps, and that he thought schools should be fur- 
nished with instruments for taking observations. After some com- 
ment upon the effect of weather upon earthworms, Mr. Chase said 
that he found the latter very interesting: he had some three years 
old, which were tame, and showed distinct preferences in the mat- 
ter of food. Even Mr. Strong was interested to hear what and 
how they ate! As to the whole matter of weather reports, we may 
remember that the Fruit Committee had for several years before 
1870 begun carefully to report the weather conditions of the sea- 
son, and to analyze and interpret their influence upon the crops. 
On the day of the last meeting of the 1892 series, proper acknowl- 
edgment was made to the Boston Evening Transcript for the pub- 
lication during " a time longer than the memory of the present 
generation " of the Society's meetings and exhibitions. Henry W. 
Dutton, senior member of the firm which founded the Transcript, 
had become a member in 1841; and it was largely through him 
and William Durant, the Treasurer, that the information gathered 
at the discussions was diffused. The weekly meetings for discussion 
suffered a serious loss this year in the death of the Reverend A. B. 
Muzzey, who died on the second of July at the age of ninety. 
Though not an exhibitor, he contributed an elevating and kindly 
interest in the discussions which reminds us of M. P. Wilder. 

Except in chrysanthemums, the year 1892 not unnaturally pro- 
duced few new species of flowers; for the chrysanthemum was 
drawing the keenest interest. But there was something of interest 
always at every Saturday show, orchid growing was spreading, 
and decorative and flowering plants were becoming more and 
more popular, as the spring exhibits proved. Some of these were 
N. T. Kidder's orchids, and Dr. C. G. Weld's splendid cinerarias, 
hyacinths, tulips, acacias, and cyclamens. Edward Butler won a 
prize with a magnificent specimen orchid, dendrobium nobile. 


Sweet peas had become so important commercially that more defi- 
nite nomenclature was indispensable; and the year's experience 
led to the establishment of a new prize for 1893 which might at- 
tract accurately named collections for comparison. Still increas- 
ing in popular interest also were the aquatics, especially the 
nymphaeas and nelumbiums ; and cannas too had wonderfully im- 
proved. At the May exhibition Dr. Weld's azaleas took all first 
prizes; and John L. Gardner led in calceolarias. Mr. Gardner also 
sent six Indian azaleas, which were arranged in a splendid crim- 
son pyramid in the centre of the hall ; and for this, the main attrac- 
tion of the show, he received the gold medal. Until 1892 the rho- 
dodendron shows had been open only a few hours; but now the 
time was extended — this year on the tenth and eleventh of June 
— and an admission fee charged. The change was due to the in- 
crease in size; one hall had formerly sufficed, but now both were 
hardly enough. Miscellaneous exhibits filled the Lower Hall, while 
the Upper was devoted to rhododendrons and hardy azaleas, — 
almost all of which were contributed by H. Hollis Hunnewell, John 
L. Gardner, and Francis Brown Hayes. The last had offered 
a beautiful vase as a prize, and this was won by Mr. Gardner. 
Mr. Gardner also sent winning exhibits to the rose show at the 
end of June; but the cold April and hot June weather had sapped 
the vitality of the roses, and the exhibition was a poor one. At 
the annual show there were three entries in the new class for 
aquatic plants. G. A. Nickerson's ornamental plants were most 
effectively grouped at the end of the hall; and these, with J. H. 
White's imposing display of forty palms, cycads, ferns and lyco- 
podiums in the centre of the hall exemplified one of the most strik- 
ing developments of the year, — a decided advance in taste for 
artistic arrangement. The same thing was seen in the chrysan- 
themum show, where the Waban Conservatories illustrated the 
best manner of training and tying. The twelve specimens sent to 
this show by Walter Hunnewell had never been surpassed, the 
Louis Boehmer being six feet in diameter. J. L. Gardner, W. H. 
Elliot, Dr. C. G. Weld and N. T. Kidder also won high com- 
mendation. As a whole the show was an improvement in quality 
over previous ones, but not in quantity. N. T. Kidder won the 
Appleton silver medal for the largest number of first prizes during 


the season for herbaceous plants; and a list of those exhibited was 
printed in the Transactions. In fruits, everything throve except 
the raspberry, in spite of the tent caterpillar, which was being 
attacked with paris green, london purple and bordeaux mixture. 
Strawberries were good, and among the new varieties was the 
splendid Marshall, by M. F. Ewell, of Marshfield Hills. The an- 
nual show came at the same time as the Mechanics' Fair, and the 
extra hundred dollars granted to cover prizes for preserved and 
evaporated fruit had to be held for a future time. Prices for all 
fruits were good in the markets, and there was at the exhibitions 
a distinct decrease in inferior specimens. The care and skill so 
long evident in the production of fruits was now characteristic 
of the vegetable growers also, and the forced vegetables were re- 
markably fine. In June, Walter Russell introduced White Box 
radishes, a new variety, and Peter Fisher a new forcing tomato, 
Conference. The Committee reported that the old Boston Market 
variety of celery from the Arlington growers had almost entirely 
given place to such varieties as the Paris Golden and White 
Plume; but in 1893 they had to admit that the latter, though finest 
in appearance, were poorest in quality — tough, stringy, and flav- 
orless. The prizes offered for the year in all departments made a 
total of seven thousand, five hundred and fifty dollars, not includ- 
ing the standing offers of over one thousand for prospective prizes. 
The new interest in flowering plants, noted at the exhibitions, 
was observed by the Garden Committee also; and with Crozy 
cannas, tuberous rooted begonias, heliotrope and improved pelar- 
goniums at hand, the abandonment of tender bedding plants 
seemed sensible. The Committee visited the rose houses of C. V. 
Whitten, — fifteen in all, — in which were cultivated The Bride, 
Madame Hoste, and Papa Gontier and others — including the 
American Beauty, of superb beauty and fragrance. A visit to Dr. 
Weld's greenhouses left them speechless with admiration over the 
cineraria house. G. A. Nickerson's specimen Crotons and splendid 
palms were visited, and Varnum Frost's marvellous forcing houses 
for vegetables in Arlington won a fifty-dollar prize. Nathaniel T. 
Kidder's application for the Hunnewell triennial premium was the 
first for several years. Mr. Kidder's estate in Milton consisted of 
about eighteen acres. The house stood six hundred feet from the 


street; the avenue, bordered on the right by Norway spruces, was 
on one side of a three-and-a-half-acre lawn studded with elms and 
oaks. On one side of the house were rhododendrons, and on the 
other trees and shrubs, while back of it was a kitchen garden. 
There were forty-year-old apple trees and pear trees in twenty- 
two varieties, the best of the former being Baldwins and Rhode 
Island Greenings; six greenhouses; two vineries, mostly of Black 
Hamburgs; and pits and cellars for storing. Visits were made to 
the Hayes estate in Lexington, Fisher Brothers and Company's 
greenhouses, and to W. W. Lee's aquatic garden at Northampton. 
The last was very different from anything the visitors had ever 
seen. Mr. Lee, a cutlery manufacturer, had laid out the grounds 
around his factory as a lawn, near which were the neat cottages 
of his workmen. The factory itself was of brick, and was covered 
with Ampelopsis Veitchii. One of the lily-ponds was opposite the 
office entrance, and another, forty-two feet in diameter, about a 
hundred feet away. Shortly after the Committee's visit a third was 
constructed. Common as the cultivation of grounds about factories 
is today, this was then a revelation of how much flowers and 
plants, especially curious ones like aquatics, can soften the en- 
vironment of factory life. Thousands of people visited the place 
during the summer. Redgate, the summer place of Charles W. 
Parker at Marblehead, was an example of how one man unas- 
sisted by a gardener could make a seven-acre desert bloom. It 
stood in a commanding situation, with a panoramic view inland 
and seaward. 

Mrs. Henrietta L. T. Wolcott, Chairman of the Window Garden 
Committee, again remarked upon the difficulty of reporting the 
growth of an idea, as she had done in 1888. Strange as it might 
seem, there was difficulty in getting enthusiastic helpers : no pride 
in the Society's aims, she said, no true love of flowers, and no loyal 
desire that the homes of the humblest should be uplifted seemed 
to stir the hearts or the minds of the members of the Society — 
at least, to any great extent. Everybody was busy for himself; 
but the Committee was not going to be so, and had decided to in- 
terest school children at a distance from Boston in collecting plants 
for herbariums. As soon as circulars were prepared, however, none 
of the Committee would serve as secretary; and thus the Chair- 


man herself had to open the correspondence with principals, and 
perform other clerical work. A good deal was accomplished in in- 
structing the children before the schools closed; but when the 
berry season came the water supply for the flowers in the school 
gardens began to fail. The real trouble came when vacation be- 
gan. In February the Chairman, who had found nobody to help 
in the work, " succumbed to acute rheumatism"; but there was 
an exhibition by the children which, she said, spoke for itself. A 
report on the George Putnam School garden followed, written by 
Mr. Clapp, whose enthusiasm, Mrs. Wolcott said, " had never 
been dominated by any interest save the loyal one, the good of 
the child." Bulbs, tubers and geraniums were planted in the 
spring, and there were sixteen varieties of native asters and nine 
of golden rod. Each member of the First Class of the School had a 
plant to take care of, and the Second Class drew and described 
some varieties of asters. At the annual exhibition of fruits and 
vegetables, in October, twenty varieties of wild asters and golden 
rod from the garden were exhibited. 

The Library was now one of the foremost five in the world, and 
its collection of purely horticultural works, according to Chair- 
man Endicott, was by far the finest in existence. As nearly as cir- 
cumstances permitted the card catalogue had been completed. 
Besides the increasing numbers of books obtained through the 
Stickney fund, there was a rich collection of botanical and garden- 
ing periodicals. Of those listed in the Gardeners' Chronicle the Li- 
brary took fourteen out of nineteen English ones, nine out of ten 
American — and many more not listed — four out of six Belgian, 
four out of nine French, several Austrian and German, and six 
others. Most of the sets were complete, and missing numbers were 
being watched for. The Library was especially rich in works on 
the botany of India and Southern Asia generally, and had large 
numbers of books devoted to single classes of plants, such as 
grasses, coniferous trees, and palms, to say nothing of books on 
forestry, fungi, monographs of other sorts, and " curious " old 
books on the supposed medicinal virtues of plants. During the 
year 1892 the publications of the Royal Horticultural Society had 
been completed by carefully watching the second-hand book- 
sellers; and among the new titles — twice as numerous as in any 


previous year — was the Marquesse of Lothian's Genus Masde- 
vallia. Such a library was, of course, already a national treasure, 
and the Society was never selfish with it. Its great disadvantages 
were that there was not room enough, and that it was situated on 
a noisy corner; but relief was not far off, for the property of the 
Society had become exceedingly valuable, and therefore a very 
high rent was really being paid for very inadequate and insecure 

Chapter XV • 1 893-1 895. N. T. KIDDER'S 

NATHANIEL T. KIDDER had been elected President 
for 1893, and in his inaugural address on the seventh 
of January his first words were that the Society's 
present quarters were cramped and inconvenient, — outgrown. 
The only possible course was to request the Executive and Finance 
Committees to look about for a suitable site where the Society 
might build or otherwise acquire such accommodations as would 
meet the requirements of a growing society with a library and grow- 
ing exhibitions in a growing city. Mr. Kidder had, himself, been a 
member of the Library Committee, and was especially anxious 
about the continual risk from fire — for the room was still only 
partially fire-proof — to over thirty thousand dollars' worth of 
indispensable property which could not be replaced. He also sug- 
gested that since so busy a Society could not go exhaustively into 
entomology, it would be well to institute some means of acquiring a 
familiarity with insects and the methods of destroying them — a 
pressing matter of the day. Speaking of the essays and discussions, 
he felt that even if some of the subjects were irrelevant, it was 
better to include papers beyond the Society's province than to risk 
the opposite fault of passing over anything properly within it. The 
Window Garden Committee, he suggested, should hereafter be 
proposed by the Nominating Committee, named by the President, 
and voted for when and as other officers were. 

The matter of Arbor Day, rural cemeteries and school gardens 
was carried a step further on the fourteenth of January by B. G. 
Northrup, who had lectured a year before on the first. He spoke 
on village improvement; though he confessed that to talk of this 
in Boston, famous for its beautiful suburbs, was like bringing 
coals to Newcastle. The development of the park system had 
caused a similar movement all over the country, he testified. The 
Reverend Calvin Terry was afraid that fences could not be re- 


moved, as the lecturer suggested, until a law should be passed 
against marauding boys and dogs; whereupon Leverett M. Chase 
remarked that we cannot have any laws enforced that go much 
beyond the average spirit of the people — a generality which is 
often quoted today. The next Saturday W. H. Manning spoke on 
landscape gardening, and first pointed out how the popular ig- 
norance of the subject had forced upon many nurserymen, florists 
and contractors a duty for which they were unqualified, and which 
they sometimes used as a convenient means of getting rid of their 
surplus plants. He painted an amusing picture of the rockery in 
the centre of the suburban lawn, the discarded iron kettle painted 
red, and the useless walks with unmeaning crooks. He then offered 
practical constructive suggestions, especially for small houses, ex- 
plained the methods and the cost of a regular landscape gardener, 
and expressed his belief that the time was not far distant when 
people would call in the landscape gardener as they now did the 
architect. Messrs. Strong, Kidder, Chase, Thurlow and Hadwen 
approved of the lecturer's views, and Mr. Kidder said that he had 
once seen a whole kitchen outfit — range, pots, kettles and sauce- 
pans in position as in use, with a plant or a collection of plants 
growing in each, — set out upon the lawn as a grand decoration. 
Samuel Henshaw gave, on January the twenty-eighth, a historical 
sketch of English horticulture, interesting for its curious facts 
about old superstitions in regard to planting, and especially so for 
what was said of the late vast improvements in the literature con- 
nected with horticulture. Only a few years before, the catalogues 
and even the magazines teemed with monstrosities, both in illus- 
trations and descriptions ; but now the principle of honest adver- 
tising was established, and accuracy both by photographs and 
carefully worded descriptions was becoming the rule. Henry L. 
Parker, on the fourth of February, discussed the economics of 
horticulture; and with the Kew gardens as a text and the Missouri 
Botanical Garden as a striking example, advocated some form of 
botanical investigation by the horticultural societies, whose pres- 
ent activities, he thought, might in method and results be consid- 
ered too much like those of a kindergarten. He dreamed of a kind 
of national Kew at St. Louis: why not make a beginning, however 
humble? But Leverett M. Chase, the educator, said that what he 


wanted was to see one crop which could be produced on the farms 
and nowhere else — a crop of noble men and noble women. Mr. 
Strong recalled the old idea of an experimental garden, and how 
long it had persisted. The next week B. T. Galloway, chief of the 
Division of Vegetable Pathology at the United States Department 
of Agriculture, delivered the John Lewis Russell lecture on Com- 
bating the Fungous Diseases of Plants; and on the eighteenth of 
February Mrs. P. D. Richards gave a pleasant and gentle but 
thoroughly practical talk on wild flowers and ferns, to which E. H. 
Hitchings added some words about the wild flowers of Middlesex 
Fells. He gave interesting proof that the wild flowers blossom 
every month of the year. The History of the Carnation and its 
Culture, by R. T. Lombard, bore directly on the interests of the 
audience, for in 1892 about two hundred million blooms were 
sold. Its name came from its flesh color when first introduced into 
England, — probably about 1200; and it was first called pink 
about 1600. Near the end of the seventeenth century a hybrid was 
produced, said to be the first artificial hybrid of any kind. A seed- 
ling carnation was shown on the first of August, 1829, by the 
Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and many more the next 
year. The improvement of the flower began in France in 1840; 
and in America the Carnation Society was formed on the fifteenth 
of October, 185 1. Poisonous Plants was the next subject, and of 
course ended in a debate on the poison ivy, which not only was 
bad for children, but had laid up some of the workmen for days 
at a time on Mrs. Wolcott's farm. Aquatic Plants and Their Cul- 
ture was a timely subject, responsive to the growing interest in 
this class of flowers; and tuberous-rooted begonias, discussed the 
next week, introduced an instructive debate on the comparative 
values of these and foliage plants and beds. The last lecture of the 
season, on the twenty-fifth of March, was by James Comley about 
his visit to Japan; and if any excuse were needed for not always 
keeping strictly within the practical needs and demands of the So- 
ciety's work this delightful paper could supply it. A perusal of it 
will show the reader that not only history and instruction but 
also excellent entertainment lies hidden in the long row of vol- 
umes of the Society's Transactions. 

The tendencies of the flower exhibits in 1893 was towards mixed 


displays, and the result was more beautiful tables, but less educa- 
tional value. We have seen how distinctly all the Society's immedi- 
ate interests kept education in view. This year an admission fee 
was asked only at the spring and chrysanthemum shows. With the 
increase of new varieties of florists' flowers, particularly carna- 
tions and chrysanthemums, an award seemed needed which should 
not only recognize the good qualities of a new variety, but should 
give such instruction to the originator as would prevent him from 
using the award itself for advertising purposes, and from giving to 
the trade a variety which did bear the Society's full approval. A 
" Complimentary Notice " was accordingly adopted, which was 
in the nature of a letter of advice to the originator, and admirably 
answered its purpose. Seven thousand, eight hundred and fifty 
dollars was appropriated for awards in all classes. At the spring 
show the Lower Hall contained in the centre a rich display of 
azaleas, genistas and other plants, in bloom, and a show of early 
vegetables and winter apples and pears; but the Upper Hall was 
the great attraction, with its many collections of flowering bulbs, 
and a great group of orchids on the platform. On the twenty- 
second and twenty-third of June the roses were in the Upper Hall, 
with other flowers, of which a collection of over a hundred peonies 
was notable. The Marshall was conspicuous among the splendid 
strawberries. The chief attraction in the Lower Hall at the annual 
exhibition was the display occupying the entire platform of roses, 
hydrangeas, phloxes, asters and others against a background of 
canna foliage. In the Upper Hall were well arranged flowering 
and ornamental-leaved plants from the greenhouses in the vicinity, 
and a beautiful show of aquatic plants in two large tanks. The 
front of the platform was occupied by splendid grapes. In March 
Jackson Dawson presented a new rose, a hybrid between the 
General Jacqueminot and the single rose Rosa rugosa. Cycas revo- 
luta was shown at the spring exhibition by F. B. Hayes, and in 
June Dracaena Sanderiana by F. Sanders, an Englishman. J. S. 
Fay received a gold medal for superior cultivation of hydrangeas, 
and at the annual show silver medals were given to G. McWilliam 
for a display of Caladium argyrites, N. T. Kidder for Davallia 
fijiensis, J. H. White for Nephrolepis exaltata, and Pitcher and 
Manda for Araucaria excelsa compacta, a grand evergreen sub- 


tropical shrub. The aquatics and native plants attracted the usual 
attention. The display of rhododendrons in June surpassed any- 
thing of the kind ever held, F. B. Hayes being given a gold medal 
for his exhibit. The chrysanthemums, too, in November, though 
not unusually numerous, seemed to represent the limit in regard 
to size and fine texture, three sent by John Simpkins being enor- 
mous. Miss Simpkins, of Yarmouthport, had offered a silver cup 
for the best twelve blooms of any pink variety other than Pompon, 
with stems not less than two feet long, and Edward Hatch had also 
offered a special prize; but they were offered on the seventh of 
October — too late to bring out much competition. 

In fruits, the year demonstrated that the variation between the 
odd and the even year in the number of apples was diminishing 

— a consummation devoutly wished by everybody, — and that an 
improvement in peaches was resulting from raising seedling trees. 
The exhibitions indicated success everywhere, except, as usual, in 
plums. The Committee, having perceived that much of the pre- 
served fruit sold here was imported, invited one of the largest 
concerns in the country engaged in evaporating fruit to set up 
and operate one of their machines during the annual exhibition 

— a good advertisement ; for about a hundred times as much of 
this fruit was being shipped from New York as from Boston. In 
the vegetable department Joseph S. Fay again figured, with 
eighteen varieties of well-grown lettuce, an excellent comparative 
exhibit which won the Appleton silver medal. The late season 
yielded mediocre results until the middle of September, when 
the crops seemed to have caught up; but the care and skill shown 
by the growers counted for much. The Lower Hall was entirely 
filled by vegetables alone at the annual show. The Golden Self- 
Blanching and White Plume celery had, as we have noted, proved 
a delusion; but the potatoes were good, and had been lately pre- 
sented " in better character," so that for the credit of the Society 
they did not have to be put under the table, as had sometimes been 
the case. Not unnaturally the policy of asking an admission fee 
to but two of the shows during the year meant that the others were 
the best attended; yet not much less money was taken in than if 
fees had been charged at all the principal exhibitions, and $1094.85 
was cleared. 


The gate receipts of $372 at the spring show as compared with 
$1292 at the chrysanthemum show in the fall foretold clearly- 
enough the tremendous popularity which the " Queen of the 
Autumn " was to attain. Horticultural journals were full of the 
great flower, special papers were written about it for societies, 
and exhibitions of it were held where none had ever been before. 
Prominent among its devotees was T. D. Hatfield at Walter Hun- 
newelPs chrysanthemum house in Wellesley, who contributed a list 
of varieties, with descriptions and notes on the method of culture. 
At Arthur HunnewelFs plant house also there were fine specimens 
of twenty-five varieties, and at John L. Gardner's and H. Hollis 
HunnewelFs effectively arranged displays. W. J. Clemson, of 
Taunton, had seventy-five varieties; and at Charles V. Whitten's 
Dorchester houses very many were grown with the intention of 
discarding all not of a first-class marketable character. Even 
Whitten's fifteen hundred lilies, and W. W. Lee's aquatic garden 
at Northampton, with its new pond edged with ferns, seemed to 
find the Garden Committee preoccupied with the popular interest. 
But the Chairman found time one afternoon to visit Warren H. 
Rawson, one of the growers who were making Arlington famous. 
He found an area of a hundred and twenty thousand square feet, 
and fifteen houses devoted to the growing of lettuce and cucum- 
bers. This visit was in the middle of December, and Mr. Rawson 
was then shipping over a hundred barrels of lettuce a week to 
New York. 

As to the window gardening in 1893, Mrs. Henrietta Wolcott 
presented a recital which she said might " seem tedious, but which 
it was hoped might not prove uninteresting." To begin with, the 
Committee intended to change its name to " Committee on School 
Gardens and Children's Herbariums," and the reason of this was 
that in 1878 a request from parties not active members in the So- 
ciety, but philanthropists in the grandest sense, was placed before 
the Society, and funds were promised to defray expenses. The 
object was to teach children to raise flowering plants in pots and 
to care for them, and thus make desolate homes attractive. This 
appealed to a number of willing workers ; but the first Committee 
was expected to work early and late, in an untried field; and they 
were rewarded only by the fact that they had attained the end 


desired by the founders. The children had been reached through 
Sunday school superintendents and missions; and it seemed as 
though the mercantile value of the idea ought to have won over 
the florists, for in one season over thirteen thousand plants were 
distributed about Boston. But now the ardor of the Committee 
was dampened by changes among the earnest friends of the move- 
ment : of six clergymen who had been helpful, two, Phillips Brooks 
and Gerry, had died, and two had moved — one of the latter to 
an asylum for overtaxed clergymen. The remaining two saw what 
the Committee's difficulties were, and the greatest of these diffi- 
culties was the indifference of the members of this Society: a 
trivial matter when one is not one's self the annoyed one. And 
in addition to all this, it was hard to get the children's plants at 
the advertised hour, and to dispose of the children during the time 
devoted to the exhibition, — except when the teachers came too. 
Once over two hundred plants were exhibited. But the Committee 
lost another member; the correspondence became a heavy burden, 
and a pamphlet was printed. Soon the narrowness of scope in their 
plans became evident, — they had " become inoculated, as it were, 
with the sentiment so often witnessed in this our beloved head- 
quarters." They had lost sight of the fact that all Massachusetts 
would be traversed by earnest pupils searching for wild flowers. 
But E. H. Hitchins worked hard; and though the expense of the 
pamphlet almost wrecked the Committee financially, they were 
glad they had issued it. Prizes were offered for pressed flowers, 
ferns and grasses; the Committee thought that early training 
would cultivate the children's powers of observation, and thus by 
improving their taste be of great help in the education of, for 
example, the future superintendents of public grounds — though 
they admitted that some men did not receive the idea of education 
with cordiality, as witness the crowds at the Columbian Exhibi- 
tion, who failed to appreciate the special domain of Frederick Law 
Olmsted, and preferred the crude parks outside of it: the throngs 
who delight in double-headed calves and no-armed men are double 
the crowds at the florist's window! But the report of the George 
Putnam School for 1893 was a consolation, in spite of the refusal 
of the School Committee to supply manure: eighteen new plants 
were introduced, and eight varieties of chrysanthemums were ex- 


hibited at the regular chrysanthemum show and got a gratuity of 
three dollars, — which was used for manure. Nine species of na- 
tive ferns had been put into the garden, and ferns were to be stud- 
ied by the help of lantern slides. At the exhibition, the whole Lower 
Hall was used, and a hundred and twenty-five specimens were put 
in the Upper; and though many of the members of the Society 
were conspicuous by their absence, the report stated that the loss 
in every case was theirs. $250 had been appropriated for the use 
of the Committee, of which fifteen dollars was awarded to the 
Putnam School, twenty-six dollars and seventy-five cents in prizes 
of from four dollars to fifty cents, and five dollars and fifty-five 
cents in gratuities. 

The World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893 was 
horticulturally a disappointment. In the planting the finishing 
touches were missing; it had apparently been overlooked that 
flowers were as necessary as green lawns and lagoons. " Horticul- 
tural Hall " was an " ill-appointed structure, notable only for be- 
ing the biggest thing of its kind." The management apparently 
gave no attention to the warnings of horticulturists that this de- 
partment ought to have a full year's start over other departments 
of the Fair. The wrangle and the delay at the beginning were fatal; 
and when a late, loud cry for help came there was little to put in 
the great building. Massachusetts did what she could do, and New 
York and Pennsylvania helped more, to make a presentable ap- 
pearance — and then through neglect of proper supervision or bad 
judgment the Hall was invaded — " desecrated " is the sorrowful 
word used — by cheap lemonade stands and peddlers of knick- 
knacks, soap and candy. It was vexatious to think of what Massa- 
chusetts might have done with her native flora, — her " little wild 
treasures." The only really good thing she could contribute was at 
the State Building, an " old-fashioned garden," which was one of 
the gems of the Fair. Was the Massachusetts Horticultural Soci- 
ety in any way at fault? asked Benjamin P. Ware at one of the 
meetings. We know that it was not. Aside from the unsuitable 
plans of the building and the inadequate time for the preparation 
of the exhibits, Mr. Hovey, a member of the Massachusetts Com- 
mission on the World's Fair, had urged the Society to take up the 
work of preparing a suitable exhibition of Massachusetts horti- 


culture, and a committee was appointed to do so. What happened 
or did not happen after that Mr. Ware could not tell. 

In 1893 the Society suffered three heavy losses by death, Eben- 
ezer Herring Hitchins, Frederick Lothrop Ames and Francis 
Parkman. Hitchins, who died on his eighty-fifth birthday, was the 
first botanist to be put on the Flower Committee, and one of the 
first to exhibit native plants, in which he was always deeply in- 
terested. His influence in the direction of education was immeas- 
urable. Life was to him worth living to the end, and he had won 
the complete regard and affection of his companions. About a 
year later his herbarium of native orchids was presented to the 
Society by his family, and named for him. F. L. Ames was widely 
known throughout the horticultural world for his broad knowledge 
of orchids and for his wonderful collection of them; but his spe- 
cial service to the Society was a careful guardianship of its finan- 
cial policy: he had been a member of the Executive Committee for 
thirteen years, of the Finance Committee from 1882 until his 
death, and a vice-president for seven years. His generosity in the 
promotion of botanical research at Harvard also endeared him to 
all horticulturists. His place on the Financial Committee was voted 
to Augustus Hemenway. So much has been said and written of the 
courageous life and scholarly historical work of Francis Parkman 
as somewhat to obscure his great contributions to horticulture. 
We have felt the force of his wise administration of the presi- 
dency in the Society for three years, and have seen that he prac- 
tised gardening with a success rarely attained by men who had 
given their whole lives to it. He was the first Professor of Horti- 
culture at Cambridge; he introduced to cultivation in this coun- 
try many new and attractive plants; he produced new varieties 
in the lily and the poppy; and he wrote one of the most useful 
books ever published on the rose and its culture. A review of his 
attitude to and work for the Society's library during and after 
CM. Hovey's presidency will convince the member of today that 
our magnificent collection of books could hardly have existed with- 
out his scholarly intelligence and sympathetic interest, nor even 
with those if they had not been made effective through his steady 
tact and direct force. 

Strong as the position of the Society was financially in January, 


1894, the late panic threw it on the defensive, and the pressing 
question of more room seemed farther than ever from solution. 
President Kidder could recommend nothing now but patiently to 
make the best of circumstances, and wait for improvement. He 
had no specific change of policy to suggest, except that as the 
work of the Society increased, some of it was in danger of sub- 
jection to precedent or habit, and it might be well to change the 
personnel of committees somewhat from year to year on this ac- 
count. A motion had been made by Mr. Strong on the third of 
September, 1892, that no member should be a candidate for the 
presidency beyond a second term; but this was obviously begin- 
ning at the wrong end of the matter, and fortunately it did not 

The Russell lecture on fungi, by the mycologist William C. 
Sturgis, was the first of the list for 1894, and proved how alarm- 
ingly plant diseases were increasing. Pruning and Hardy Grapes 
were the next two subjects ; and in the latter Dr. Jabez Fisher was 
at some pains to banish from the minds of his audience the fear 
that appendicitis was caused by grape seeds : he had been told by 
Dr. Maurice H. Richardson that no evidence supported the belief. 
Early in February the subject of electricity as applied to plant 
growing was for the first time fully expounded before the Soci- 
ety. The lecturer, L. H. Bailey, Professor of Horticulture at Cor- 
nell, had conducted many experiments, and was able to report 
many of the effects of electrical illumination on different plants, a 
field of investigation begun in the late seventies and carried on by 
Siemen in England and Deherain in France. Mr. Bailey himself 
was especially interested in the application of the current as a 
stimulus in plant growth, and was about to investigate the subject. 
Vegetables under glass, and the construction of plant houses were 
closely related and very insistent subjects; nearly three hundred 
million dollars represented the capital sunk in the latter, and the 
improvement in them during the last thirty years had, of course, 
been tremendous, not only as regards utility and economy, but ar- 
tistic fitness. On the seventeenth of February came a subject 
introduced by William Falconer, the editor of Gardening, 
which was destined to arouse one of those popular " rages " of 
which among flowers the dahlia and the chrysanthemum were typi- 


cal examples. It was modestly called A Talk about Mushrooms. 
The first two Russell lectures on fungi before the Society have im- 
plicitly shown that the subject was a mysterious one three or four 
years before; but it is noteworthy that since those lectures began, 
the growing of mushrooms had quadrupled. They had claimed 
representation at every properly planned dinner, — though the 
art of cooking them had not diffused itself so rapidly among people 
in general as among Ward McAllister's four hundred cooks — 
and the period of limited supply and high prices was past. In the 
summer of 1893 came the inevitable poisoning scare; but the 
toothsome Agaricus campestris was easily recognizable, the sub- 
rufescens was grown in a cellar and in a cold open air frame in 
summer by gardeners who knew it, and no great prejudice re- 
sulted. In the discussion which followed the lecture many ques- 
tions were of course asked on how to distinguish the edible varie- 
ties from the poisonous. The next week Kenneth Finlayson ably 
discussed the improvements in cinerarias and calceolarias, and 
observed that skilful as hybridists had become in many things, 
there was still a wide field for them in the manipulation of colors. 
The Metropolitan Park System came up for discussion on the 
tenth of March. We have reviewed the early suggestions by the 
Society's Committee in connection with the Middlesex Fells. Elec- 
tric cars were now making a reasonably rapid transit possible 
from the suburbs to town: Greater Boston was beginning. Since 
the movement began in 1891 over seven thousand acres of beauti- 
ful wilderness to the north and the south, and somewhat less to 
the west, had been acquired, — a consequence of the establish- 
ment of Central Park 1 in New York, which had given Frederick 
Law Olmsted his opportunity. Boston had been behind many other 
cities in the movement merely because she already had more open 
spaces, and exceptionally beautiful suburbs. The Society, as we 
know, had taken deep interest also in related matters, such as the 
preservation of forests and the growing of new plantations of trees 
— only a month before a vote had been passed to urge upon the 
senators and representatives of Massachusetts in Congress the 
passage of the bill for protection of forest reservations. Lynn fell 
into line with the " Lynn Woods," of two thousand acres; then the 

1 But Elm Park, in Worcester, is the oldest park in the United States. 


lecturer of the day, Sylvester Baxter, advocated a system of 
metropolitan parks; then the Commission was established; and 
then came the Board of Public Reservations, whose leading spirit 
was Charles Eliot, Olmsted's best pupil. Before leaving the sub- 
ject it is well to remember that the Appalachian Mountain Club 
by its weekly trips was fostering an interest in rural places about 
Boston. One more of the Society's general interests was precipi- 
tated on the seventeenth of March by James J. H. Gregory, 
through his complaint about the difficulty of obtaining satisfactory 
seeds; and in December, General Francis H. Appleton followed 
him up by a motion to recommend to Congress that the present 
method of seed-distribution from Washington should be abolished, 
and that seed should be directly distributed to the experiment 
stations, — an excellent means of correcting the abuses, presum- 
ably by dealers; but we shall find Mr. Gregory and others, in 
1896, still advocating some system of seed control, and hoping 
that the Society would take steps to obtain it. 

The exhibitions of 1894 were notable for creditable orchids and 
splendid cyclamens at the spring exhibition — on the first day of 
which the thermometer stood at twenty degrees. In April, Warren 
H. Manning showed a new variety of the Red Osier dogwood, 
which he had found wild and brought under cultivation. It seemed, 
with its bright yellow bark, to be useful in shrubbery planting for 
winter effect. Mrs. Richards' wild flowers were the first to appear, 
on April the twenty-first. In May, Jackson Dawson brought a new 
species of spiraea from Japan, and later a collection of over forty 
species and varieties of roses from the Arboretum, very interesting 
to botanists. On the sixteenth of June he showed twenty-nine va- 
rieties of Hybrid Polyantha roses, which won the silver medal. 
J. S. Fay, as usual, was the largest exhibitor. The difficulty in 
obtaining moss for the rose boxes obliged the Committee to rule 
that in future glass vases must be used, as with the other flowers. 
Well-known greenhouse and stove plants came to the annual ex- 
hibition from Messrs. Gardner, Kidder and Weld, when dahlias 
also were displayed extensively. In the Upper Hall were aquatics 
and a very interesting Egyptian papyrus. The fine canna Mrs. 
Fairman Rogers, shown two years ago, was again exhibited. Again 
the chrysanthemum showed undreamed-of surprises. In the Lower 


Hall was a semi-circular line of very large Chinese vases filled 
with the most magnificent blooms, and in the Upper were the 
pot plants, with leaves " thick and firm, of a waxy gloss, and color 
so intense as to be almost black," — as near perfection as any- 
thing could be, or at least had been. On the seventeenth of Novem- 
ber the Society's gold medal was awarded to Mrs. Frederick L. 
Ames for Cypripedium insigne Sanderae, the most beautiful and 
prolific of the orchids introduced into this country by her late 
husband. Nathaniel T. Kidder received the Appleton silver medal 
for the largest number of first prizes during the season for her- 
baceous plants. There had never been a better exhibition of fruits 
than that in the Lower Hall at the annual show, especially of 
apples and pears: forty-three dishes of Bosc pears were offered 
for prizes. Among the strawberries, which were the best ever seen, 
the very promising Marshall had joined the Belmont, the Sharp- 
less and the Bubach; but though Mr. Strong had offered liberal 
special prizes for new varieties not previously exhibited, nothing 
resulted. Quinces seemed to be attracting more attention than 
usual. The hot, dry summer was very hard on all vegetables, but 
the growers were an optimistic, industrious lot, and met the situa- 
tion more than half-way. Vegetables raised under glass were be- 
coming very profitable, and new contributors were appearing. 
The only news was that among tomatoes the Comrade was fast 
displacing the Emery with market gardeners, and the Paris Golden 
celery had entirely taken the place of the old favorite, Boston 
Market. The dry season had hurt so many gardens that few 
cared to show them; but the Committee visited nine places, mostly 
chrysanthemum houses, the prizes for which were determined by 
the best arrangements of the popular flower for effect with other 
plants; of these N. T. Kidder's was the best. A striking bit of 
evidence of the tremendous popularity to which the chrysanthe- 
mum had now risen was an invitation in October, 1894, received 
from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society asking the Massa- 
chusetts Society to compete for a national chrysanthemum trophy 
at its show in November; and similar invitations were received 
from Springfield and Denver. 2 

2 The Flower Committee voted that it was inexpedient for the Society, as a so- 
ciety, to compete. 


The rhododendrons at F. B. Hayes' estate were never better; 
and G. B. Andrews' Delaware and Worden grapes and plums 
showed the result of steady care. The Committee also saw the 
eight thousand beautiful plants at the Waban Rose Conservatory, 
and the Pleasant Hill Conservatories, from which W. Nicholson 
sent an account of his methods of growing, as was fast becoming 
the custom in all cases. The Hunnewell triennial premium, a 
hundred and sixty dollars, was this year awarded to Nathaniel 
T. Kidder. Henry L. Clapp reported at the children's herbarium 
exhibition, on November the thirtieth and the following day, fifty 
exhibitors, fifteen collections of flowers, fourteen of ferns, two of 
grasses, and twenty-six of leaves, numbering 2020 sheets in all. 
Both halls were occupied, and both he and Professor Hanus of 
Harvard were delighted at the educational results, which told a 
story of increasing interest in plant life, and a vacation profitably 
spent. The Putnam School garden was also making gratifying 
progress, and the Robert Gould Shaw School had followed its 

The old cry of not enough room had come from the Library in 
1893; accessions had been for both years very large; the experi- 
ment station reports had to be collected; and in 1894 the family 
of Marshall P. Wilder presented a large number of horticultural 
and agricultural books. A valuable possession of the Library was 
the Pinetum Woburnense with its exquisite colored plates, written 
by the Duke of Bedford for his friends — one of an edition of a 
hundred copies. The fact that this had cost a hundred dollars 
when it was bought in 1877, an d was now worth seven times as 
much, was an excellent argument for the Library's policy from 
the financial standpoint at least. But reference books and periodi- 
cals had to be bought, if the present position was to be maintained. 
A call was once more made for a gallery, this time around the 

The Society's surplus was estimated in 1895 as about $283,795; 
but President Kidder saw no prospect yet of improvement in the 
public financial situation, and cautioned everybody against hurry- 
ing the Committee in the matter of providing more commodious 
quarters, however urgent the need might appear. At the first 
meeting, on the fifth of January, a motion was made by W. C. 


Strong that the Chair should appoint a committee to consider the 
expediency of placing the property of the Society in the care of 
a board of trustees. The largely increased valuation of the prop- 
erty, and the necessity of ensuring its secure and efficient manage- 
ment were, of course, the arguments for this; but a good deal of 
impatience was caused by the restricted space, the attendant in- 
conveniences, and the small returns from investments, as a glance 
at J. H. Woodford's report from the Committee of Arrangements 
will clearly show. Robert Manning recognized the difficulties 
better; yet he too declared that something had to be done very 
soon as far as accommodations were concerned. A committee 
lately appointed for the revision of the Constitution and By-Laws 
at once repeated Mr. Strong's suggestion; but it was not at this 
time adopted. A general clarification of the duties of various 
officers was readily made by changes in phraseology. 

The winter " meetings for lecture and discussion," as they were 
now called, varied from such pleasant subjects as Days with our 
Birds, or such curious ones as Flower Pots and their Manufacture, 
to the Russell lecture on Fungous Diseases of Ornamental Plants. 
Thorough specialists were called upon whenever possible; J. W. 
Elliott, the Pittsburgh landscape architect, spoke on hardy plants 
and their arrangement, putting the weight of his disapproval 
against tender bedding plants, and attributing their continued use 
by most people as due to the limitations of local florists; and 
H. W. Gibbons, of New York, brought information on the modern 
glass houses, and their construction and heating. Edmund B. 
Southwick, entomologist of the New York parks, on the sixteenth 
of February spoke on economic entomology in relation to trees, 
shrubs and private grounds. He bore further testimony to the 
people's common failure to take advice in regard to keeping in- 
sects down, and named this as the greatest difficulty, — a state- 
ment which the continuous fight in Massachusetts against the 
gypsy moth doubtless enabled his hearers to understand. The 
next week came an intensely interesting, if not widely practical 
lecture on experimental evolution amongst plants, by Professor 
L. H. Bailey of Cornell. He summarized the present state of belief 
in the theory of evolution, stated the five chief lines of proof of it, 
and then explained that the horticulturist had again and again 


created a new species before our very eyes, — just what was 
needed to prove evolution; for what else is a horticultural variety? 
He ascribed the failure to perceive this to misunderstanding: 
Darwin gave no definition of species, — and the practise of sys- 
tematic or descriptive botany was at variance with the teachings 
of evolution, because nature does not set out to make species, as 
we call them. Thus the horticulturist is the only man whose dis- 
tinct business and profession is evolution : he has the experimental 
proof that species come and go. The discussion following this 
subject was noticeably reserved: the Reverend Calvin Terry re- 
marked that every Christian must become a better Christian, but 
that we cannot account for existing organisms without the creative 
act of an infinite, almighty and eternal Power. A lady then ob- 
served that the lecturer apparently did not distinguish creation 
from development; but Professor Bailey at once replied that crea- 
tion and evolution were entirely distinct. On the second of March 
David H. Coolidge, Jr., spoke on ornamental gardens. He passed 
with modern brevity over Eden and the Hesperides, and then 
spoke interestingly of the gardens of Babylon, the Roman epochs, 
the preservation of the arts of culture by the monks, and Lorenzo 
di Medici's gardens. Milton, he pointed out, was the prophet of 
natural gardening, in his well-known description in Paradise Lost; 
and Addison and Pope wrote enough in their time to revolutionize 
public taste. Then came William Kent, who " peeped over the wall 
and found that all Nature was a garden "; " Capability " Brown, 
with his artificial lakes and characterless work; then Gilpin and 
others who purified taste, — and now, America, where anything 
seemed possible except large estates undivided for generations. 
On the ninth of March, Jackson Dawson talked on budding and 
grafting; and after the lecture many of his hearers gathered about 
him to examine his exhibits, to ask him about details, to see the 
practical illustrations which he gave, and to hear his explanations. 
There was no " general discussion " here: the scene was a master 
with his disciples. Some very interesting notes on the history and 
the cultivation of tomatoes, by W. M. Munsen of the Maine Ex- 
perimental Station, and the important subject of commercial fer- 
tilizers, were given by specially qualified men, and John M. 
Kinney spoke on the great new interest of edible native fungi. 


There were good books on the subject; yet popular prejudice had 
not entirely subsided. It is interesting that Mr. Kinney thought no 
fruit or vegetable had the nutritive value of the mushroom. He 
explained some ways of at once distinguishing the unwholesome 
ones, and told of the immense quantities in the great pine forests 
of Plymouth and Barnstable counties. The wave of popularity was 
still rising, and during this year was founded the Boston My co- 
logical Club, an auxiliary to the Society, largely for the purpose of 
educating people away from the fear of being poisoned. 

Improvement at the flower shows of this epoch was always 
likely to be most evident among the orchids and the chrysanthe- 
mums; but on the eleventh of March appeared something for 
which a place had long been waiting in every garden, — the Crim- 
son Rambler rose, which was shown by William H. Spooner, and 
welcomed and admired by all. Flowering bulbs, Indian azaleas, 
orchids from Mrs. F. L. Ames, perfect cyclamens from Messrs. 
Anderson and Kidder, Dr. Weld and Mrs. B. P. Cheney, and a 
curious aquatic, the Madagascar lace plant, shown by E. S. 
Converse, were the plant notabilities at the spring show; and 
forced hybrid roses, tea roses, carnations and violets from Alex- 
ander McKay were the most notable of the flowers. James Comley 
made a fine display of a form of Clematis montana, from seed col- 
lected in Japan, which it was hoped would prove hardy here. In 
June the Harvard Botanic Garden exhibited Agave Kerchovii, 
with its flower stem nineteen feet high. The rhododendrons were 
as usual interesting, and a list was printed of those on the grounds 
of H. Hollis Hunnewell and Francis B. Hayes which had stood 
the very severe winter. The roses in June looked unusually beauti- 
ful in their vases; it was noted that the best came from the South 
Shore. M. H. Walsh, gardener to J. S. Fay, had several times 
exhibited his seedling hybrid, and in 1893 received a certificate 
of merit for it. Now a visit was made to see it flowering in the open, 
and it so far exceeded the most sanguine expectations — for it 
was unsurpassed by any in Mr. Fay's imported European pro- 
ductions — that Mr. Walsh was awarded the Society's gold medal. 
This rose was the more remarkable because among the hundreds 
of varieties of hybrid roses, only two or three of American origin 
had any especial merit. At the rose show, Jackson Dawson and 


James Comley exhibited the first flowers of the rare Ostrowskia 
magnifica. In August, John Simpkins showed three new varieties 
of hardy nymphaeas; and at the chrysanthemum show also his 
contribution was a grand success. Adjectives failed the Committee 
in describing the show — it eclipsed all previous ones both in the 
size and the finish of the blooms. A special effort had been made 
to bring the anemone-flowered class into view, and in this, too, 
Mr. Simpkins succeeded. The plants were superb; but too many 
stakes were often used, and to try to bring out a class more suit- 
able for table and window decoration, three prizes were now 
offered for plants grown to a single stem, with bushy tops, with- 
out the aid of stakes. N. T. Kidder won the prize for the best 
twelve plants; his specimen Japanese was a beautiful pink Iora, 
six feet high, perhaps never equalled in this country. Mr. Kidder 
once more won the largest number of first prizes throughout 
the season for herbaceous plants, and was accordingly awarded the 
Appleton silver medal. About $4,700 was spent for awards. The 
displays of wild flowers during the year had assumed a good deal 
of educational importance; almost unconsciously the Society 
seemed to have established a school of botany, so excellent was 
the opportunity to study our native flora, and so far beyond the 
immediate neighborhood had it been taken advantage of. The 
Committee suggested the services of competent botanists as 
judges, and adduced the example of the Royal Horticultural 
Society. On the twenty-first and twenty-second of February the 
American Carnation Society, by invitation of the Society, held 
their annual meeting in the Society's halls. 

The fruits of 1895 all did well, the peach crop being the largest 
for years. Even the plums were fairly good, and in these interest 
had been revived lately by the introduction of Japanese varieties. 
There were few new fruits; the Alice grape, a white variety, 
promised well, but Mr. Strong's prizes again failed to bring any 
improvements among strawberries. The Mackintosh apple and 
the seedling pear Harris continued to commend themselves. The 
vegetables were unusually fine, and the competition very lively. 
The Stratagem pea was being ousted by the Heroine because it 
was so hard to get the pure seed of the former; but a new and very 
handsome one called Juno appeared in June. The tomatoes once 


more were so nearly perfect that it was hard to see how any further 
improvement was possible — except in earliness, and that seemed 
hopeless. The first of outdoor culture were shown on the thirteenth 
of July. But the greatest new interest came at the weekly shows, 
when collections of native mushrooms, both edible and noxious, 
illustrated for the public the facts which Kinney and Falconer 
had presented at the winter lectures. The largest exhibition, due 
especially to the extensive collection of Hollis Webster, was on 
the twenty-seventh of July. In view of this interest a prize was 
offered for 1896 for the best collection of named edible native 
varieties; and we may anticipate anxiety by looking ahead and 
noting that the Committee was to " exercise strict care . . . with 
special reference to those labelled ' edible,' and ... to provide 
cards distinctly colored, red or otherwise, and having the word 
' poisonous ' plainly printed thereon " — and that those not 
known to be edible should not be trusted. As to other vegetables, 
the potatoes, cauliflowers, celery and squashes were extremely 
fine, and the year as a whole was one of the best. At the annual 
show William J. Martin, gardener to N. T. Kidder, presented a 
tastefully arranged collection of over sixty varieties of well-grown 

Among the nine places visited in 1895 was Mrs. J. W. Clark's, 
at Pomfret, Connecticut, where there was a vinery from which 
for several seasons fine exotic grapes had come to the exhibitions; 
an excellent vegetable garden of forty acres; a farm; and six acres 
of lawn and flower garden. There were also a palm house, a rose 
house, a carnation and violet house, and a house for flowering 
plants. Everything was in charge of John Ash, the gardener, who 
submitted an account of his methods of cultivating the grapes. 
W. D. Hind's peach orchard at Townsend was the first such es- 
tablishment visited since 1881, when it seemed that peach culture 
had ended. But the beautiful Crosby peaches here were enough 
to dispel any such fear, and indeed filled the Committee with 
enthusiasm. A visit to Forest Hills Cemetery in September recalled 
a former duty of the Garden Committee, and determined them 
to revive it. Here, on an eminence, they saw the white marble 
Corinthian column which marked the grave of General Dearborn, 
and read on its sides the words " ossa in terra quam dilexit, coluit, 


ornavit cives et amici moerentes condimus." In 1893 the entire 
cemetery had been rebuilt in the modern style. Chrysanthemum 
culture was represented by the estate of Mrs. B. P. Cheney at 
South Natick, with its Japanese and Chinese varieties, and W. 
Nicholson's chrysanthemum and carnation houses at Framingham. 

The school work spread to Medford in 1895, where a garden 
of about three thousand square feet was laid out and cultivated 
with a view to the educational value of the work; and the George 
Putnam School garden in Roxbury, now five years old, had put 
in thirty new species. Photographs of the young gardeners at work 
were given in the Transactions. The exhibition of children's 
herbariums at the end of November was the best ever held in the 
Hall, though not the largest, and A. E. French and A. C. Faxon 
again fully deserved their prizes. A young man of eight years, 
Gordon Weinz, took the second prize for fifty flowering plants; 
and the Committee, discerning in these young botanists the spirit 
of the scientist, expected them to become famous and the Society 
to become proud of them. Prizes were offered this year for school 
herbariums also. 

Aside from the usual call for space, the Library had little to 
report. Mr. Endicott took the situation humorously, and after a 
brief and vivid description of the congestion, merely remarked 
that " these things ought not so to be." But Robert Manning was 
more serious, and wanted to know what would happen if a Satur- 
day exhibition should some time come when both halls were 
leased. The most important acquisition was forty-seven volumes 
of Nature, given by Waldo 0. Ross, a chairman of the Library 
Committee seventeen years ago; and the Library had of course 
kept up to date with works on edible and poisonous fungi. The 
members of the Society now numbered 785, — one of the honorary 
ones was Joseph Jefferson, elected on the fourth of May. Among 
those who had died was Benjamin Pierce Cheney, the modest, 
generous, self-reliant, cultured business man, who had served 
from 1867 to 1880 on the Financial Committee, and was one of 
the three who presented the statues of Flora, Pomona and Ceres 
which adorned the exterior of the building, the Ceres being his 
gift. There was nothing disturbing in the report of the Treasurer, 
Charles E. Richardson; nearly twenty-four thousand dollars in 


the sinking fund, and the surplus was creeping up towards three 
hundred thousand. In January, President Kidder retired from 
office, after an able and impartial administration of three years 
under external difficulties which would have menaced the Society's 
safe progress if they had been met with less firm patience. He was 
succeeded by General Francis H. Appleton. 

Chapter XVI • 1896-1900. F. H. APPLETON'S 

PRESIDENT APPLETON'S first words in his inaugural 
address on the fourth of January, 1896, were that the 
possibilities of the Society could not be realized in the 
present building, and that its invested property should be put 
into the hands of a board of trustees. He then reviewed the 
Society's activities, and the effects which the examples of its 
distinguished members had had on the municipalities of the state; 
the benefits of the lectures; and the application of science and 
business methods to the market gardens. He applauded the 
wisdom which had led the Society's officers to be cautious in 
studying its needs and in advising a plan of action, and described 
the inconveniences to which it was subjected in this building. 
To try to improve matters on this valuable location was a waste 
of money. He then considered the possibilities of economizing the 
Secretary's time by " the adoption of the modern method of 
shorthand and typewriting by an assistant," and by replacing 
the Transactions by bulletins. Moreover, it was a question 
whether semi-monthly instead of weekly essays would not result 
in better quality, in form at least; for the experts from the ex- 
perimental stations would have better opportunity for preparation 
and doubtless would be glad to use the Society's platforms. The 
only present plan for the Library he believed was to store some 
of the books in a fire-proof place. The careful and specific address 
was received with applause, for it seemed to mean new quarters 
shortly. On the first of February President Appleton reported a 
vote on December the twenty-second last that power be given 
to offer the Society's property for sale if a satisfactory price 
could be obtained, and after some debate this was carried. 

The lectures of the year were, after the first, of a pronounced 
scientific flavor. E. O. Orpet spoke of hardy garden plants, closing 
with a good word for rock gardens. The Society for Promoting 


Agriculture provided a lecture on Conservatism in Scientific 
Agriculture, delivered by Professor W. H. Jordan, Director of 
the Maine State College Agricultural Experiment Station, — a 
title chosen to emphasize the lecturer's contention that the culti- 
vation of the man, and his agricultural education in the relations 
of matter and energy rather than the technics and the manual 
skill of the farm, were the first things to be sought, for then both 
the extraordinary conservatism and the extraordinary credulity 
of the farmer would be ironed out. The discussion which followed 
seems to indicate that the lecture was not perfectly understood; 
indeed, it had more to do with the psychology of education than 
with the practical uses which were doubtless expected. A lecture 
entitled Seed Control, by Gilbert H. Hicks of the Department 
of Agriculture, presented a matter already lectured on before 
the Society, but always interesting, and brought out strong 
recommendations from the lecturer for a Control Station. Another 
lecture by a member of the Department of Agriculture, L. 0. 
Howard, was upon scale insects, and of course deeply interested 
all growers of apples, pears and peaches. He gave minute descrip- 
tions with stereopticon slides of many insects, and stated that 
the remedies for them could be only their natural enemies and 
legislation. The Russell lectures were now becoming more detailed 
and technical; they had already dealt with the commoner ques- 
tions connected with fungi, and this year Professor George H. 
Atkinson spoke learnedly on tendencies and problems in the 
evolution of species among parasitic fungi. Ornamental Planting 
for Parks and Public Grounds, by W. S. Egerton, Superintendent 
of Parks in Albany, was a timely contribution to ideas upon the 
subject, and advocated fewer flowers and more foliage plants. 
Another professor from the Department of Agriculture, F. 
Lamson-Scribner, gave an enlightening talk on grasses, — not a 
plebeian vegetable, for there were over seven hundred kinds in 
America, among them wheat, rice, Indian corn, and all the grains, 
which are the staple food of three-quarters of the race, — to say 
nothing of forage for animals. Manuring orchards was to have 
been the last subject of the year, but an extra one was held in 
April on the popular subject, Mushrooms, Edible and Poisonous, 
by W. C. Bates, Vice-President of the Mycological Club. His ex- 


planation of the popularity of the Agaricus campestris was that 
it was the only one that lent itself to artificial propagation, and 
the only one popularly known as safe. But two hundred edible 
ones had recently been tested; and the most deadly one, the 
Amanita, had been run to earth. Mr. Bates claimed great nutri- 
tiousness for the mushroom, and considered it a prospective 
blessing for the poor; but this theory was controverted later by 
Professor Mendel of Yale, who by chemical analysis and experi- 
ments in artificial digestion proved its food value not very 

In 1896 several events, — the deaths of Charles M. Atkinson 
and William Robinson, and the splendid work being done by 
Jackson Dawson, brought out a fuller appreciation and recogni- 
tion of the efforts of the gardeners, whose hearty cooperation 
had always been one of the essential factors in the success of 
the expositions. Joseph H. Woodford, Chairman of the Committee 
of Arrangements, took occasion in his report to express the great 
obligations the Society was under to them, and to thank them for 
their unfailing enthusiasm. We have seen that since the day of 
David Haggerston there has never been any failure to appreciate 
the part played in horticulture by the gardener; but this year a 
further effort was made to avoid neglecting modest men: when- 
ever the name of the owner of a garden or a prize-winning exhibit 
or specimen is noted in the Transactions, that of the gardener 
who collaborated with him is also given. It is worth while noting 
that the first two recipients of the White medal, instituted years 
later, were a scientist and a gardener. 

This gardener was Jackson Dawson; but now, at the spring 
show of 1896, he received the Society's silver medal for the Crim- 
son Rambler rose. No description of it is necessary, and indeed 
the Committee reported that it was " impossible to describe its 
beauty; some trusses carried forty flowers and buds." It was, as 
was said the year before, a really great acquisition to horticulture. 
Great vases of American Beauty and other roses, never surpassed 
here; and carnations, pansies, and an increased number of 
camellias from Mrs. E. M. Gill, Oakes Ames and James Comley, 
were the other main attractions. The cold spring had interfered 
with the exhibits of orchids and cinerarias, but the cyclamens 


from Mrs. B. P. Cheney and N. T. Kidder were splendid. There 
were unaccountably few tulips on May the second, but J. S. Fay's 
pansies, the Harvard Botanic Garden's herbaceous plants, and 
native plants from five exhibitors, four of whom were ladies, 
presented an attractive show, as did the calceolarias. Mr. Fay 
took all three prizes with his pansies, which were marvellous in 
their size and in range and combination of coloring. His roses 
were conspicuously lovely among the beautiful exhibits at the 
exhibition in June, being rivalled only by those shown ten days 
before by Jackson Dawson. The small competition at the rhodo- 
dendron show due to the severity of the winter was compensated 
for by a magnificent display on June the thirteenth of herbaceous 
peonies, oriental poppies, and aquilegias, which at once suggested 
for the future a regular peony exhibition and an increase in prizes. 
On August the fifteenth the Harvard Botanic Garden sent its 
new greenhouse plant, Angelonia angustifolia, raised from seed 
gathered in New Mexico; and at the annual show, on September 
the second and third — now not much more than a tradition 
when compared with the special ones, though the dahlias on the 
stage were fine — J. W. Manning showed his new blue spiraea, 
hardy, and a very welcome acquisition. Aquatics, like peonies, 
were so unusually good through the season as to threaten to 
demand for themselves a special day. The great chrysanthemum 
show of course was again a tremendous success. While the popular 
supremacy of the rose was not and could not be threatened, the 
reasons for the popularity of the chrysanthemum was that it was 
" accommodating," very general in its usefulness, and came at a 
time when flowers generally were scarce. The sum of $2600 
appropriated for the Committee on Flowers — which we remem- 
ber had since 1891 been distinct from the Committee on Plants 
— was exceeded by thirty-eight dollars in the awards, which, 
with a warning from the Executive Committee that " the same 
was not to establish a precedent," was made up from the sum 
unexpended by the Fruit Committee. For fruits, except apples, 
had had a very poor year indeed, — in fact, nothing cheerful ap- 
peared in the report except that the Marshall strawberry was no 
disappointment, and that G. W. Campbell had entered his new 
Campbell Early grape for the special B. V. Davis fund prize. 


Growers interested in the Japanese varieties of plums were warned 
to look out for the San Jose scale. A pleasant occurrence on the 
first of October was the celebration by Benjamin J. Smith of his 
eightieth birthday by an exhibition of sixty varieties of hardy 
native grapes, the largest ever made by an individual. But every- 
thing was favorable for vegetables; and it is hardly strange that 
among them the results of new knowledge, as diffused in the 
winter lectures, were always very prompt. The June pea, from 
J. Comley, was again commended, as was a display by the Myco- 
logical Club of about a hundred and fifty varieties of mushrooms. 
While almost everything was good, the root crops — beets, car- 
rots, parsnips and turnips — were represented by especially 
splendid specimens. H. R. Kinney won the prize for the best 
collection of vegetables arranged for effect. $1107 was awarded 
during the year. 

Eleven places of interest to the Society were visited by the 
Garden Committee, two of them entering for the Hunnewell 
triennial premium, the one-hundred-and-fifty-acre estate of 
David Nevins in Framingham, and B. P. Cheney's place at South 
Natick. The former was like a natural park, and from it were 
superb views of hill and valley which could hardly be surpassed 
in New England. The Committee after examining the gardens 
and farm agreed that such excellence as they found could not 
have been attained without great confidence and perfect coopera- 
tion between Mr. Nevins and his well-known gardener, Alexander 
McKay. Mrs. B. P. Cheney's white, yellow, pink and red 
chrysanthemums, and those of T. D. Hatfield at the Hunnewell 
estate were next visited. J. Comley's violets and W. Nicholson's 
carnations represented classes in which prizes were offered; and 
Warren H. Heustis competed in both the fruit and the vegetable 
garden classes. The visitors saw the forced shrubs and plants of 
Charles Jackson Dawson at the Bussey Institution, and were 
entranced by the camellias at the Hayes estate in Lexington. Not 
since the days of Hovey and Wilder had anything like such per- 
fection been reached, and in fact many of the plants here had 
come from Wilder 's collection. They dared to say that for certain 
decorative purposes the camellia was superior to the rose. Here 
were fifty-nine varieties, amongst them the Wilderi, first exhibited 


in 1846, and the Mrs. Abby Wilder. W. Nicholson's house of 
forced tomatoes at Framingham closed the list of the visits. 

Chrysanthemums even got into the beds of the school gardens 
and appeared on the teachers' desks in 1896. There were now 
over a hundred and fifty species of native wild plants in the 
George Putnam School garden, and the influence of the work 
appeared in the preparation of herbariums. On November the 
twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth the children's herbariums filled 
the Lower Hall, and the improvement since last year was manifest. 
Henry L. Clapp, the chairman of the Committee, pointed to the 
new botanical building going up in New York, and hinted that 
the Massachusetts Society might well establish a herbarium for 
reference and comparison. Mr. Clapp's interests were not faddish, 
and through him the Society was able to establish an interesting 
contact with educational matters which might develop into a 
general movement. 

An attentive reader of the Library's yearly bulletins could 
almost with no other assistance divine the general trend of the 
Society's activities. Before the exhibits of nuts at the shows have 
caught our eye, we find that a volume on their culture in New 
England has been added to the two German books which some 
New England conscience had put on the shelves earlier; and the 
volumes on edible mushrooms showed signs of use. There were 
now on the shelves — or piled elsewhere — more than three- 
quarters of the publications of the Department of Agriculture. 
Once more, during the summer, Robert Manning counted the 
books, and found 9875, besides 6781 pamphlets, and 7273 nursery 
and seed catalogues. 

Among those who had died during 1896 — thirty-three in all — 
were two professional gardeners, Charles M. Atkinson and 
William Robinson, whom we have already alluded to. C. M. 
Atkinson was born in England in 1826 and had been educated 
at four famous places there. He came to America in 1857, an d 
entered the service of Hovey and Company, whose nursery was 
celebrated for its fruits and exotic plants. For three years he 
managed the Cushing estate in Belmont, then became Superin- 
tendent of Mount Hope Cemetery, and upon the change of ad- 
ministration there, took charge of the John L. Gardner estate, 


where he became intimately identified with the Society, and had 
few equals as a successful exhibitor, especially with azaleas, 
hardy roses and hard- wooded plants. Though a gardener of the 
old school, he always loved a new introduction; and it was not 
until ill-health obliged him to do so that he ended his work at 
the Gardner estate, after a stay of twenty-seven years. In him 
the Society lost one of the most efficient of its helpers. William 
Robinson came to America in 1877, and took charge of the 
greenhouses and grounds of Frederick L. Ames, where the collec- 
tion of rare orchids under his care became the most extensive and 
valuable in America. Such orchids as the Phalaenopsis grandi- 
flora aurea and the Cypripedium insigne Sanderae were brought 
to flower by him for the first time in America, and for the latter 
he received the Society's highest possible award, the gold medal. 
He was a very valuable member of the Plant Committee for five 
years, and not only brought honor and prestige to the Society, 
but through his ambitious, energetic, enthusiastic nature became 
a strong influence among his brother gardeners, who were bound 
to him by deep affection as well as by respect. 

On the second of January, 1897, President Appleton announced 
that no recommendation could yet be made in regard to the 
building; but the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, twice burnt 
out, had now built a fire-proof building which by its central 
location, easy access, well-planned entrances and ample accom- 
modations could serve as an excellent pattern. Money was of 
course needed; but he recommended charging an entrance fee to 
non-members, with a judicious use of complimentary passes, 
and believed that the Society should be benevolent to the public 
by allowing non-members to contribute towards the good that the 
Society aimed to do for the public and for horticulture in general. 
The Executive Committee had procured an act to empower the 
Society to hold real and personal estate amounting to a million 
dollars. As to the Library, since the use of it had decreased during 
the year, he thought that the Committee should limit the time 
for which books could be kept out, and that their value should 
become better known to horticulturists. 

After the first lecture, which was on tropical horticulture and 
was delivered by Professor G. L. Goodale of Harvard, came a 


fully illustrated one on the structure and classification of mush- 
rooms, by Hollis Webster, Secretary of the Mycological Club, in 
which the demands for information clearly manifested the still 
rising interest. At the end of the lecture Mr. Webster presented 
to the Society a portrait of the Swedish mycologist, Elias Fries, 
to whom as he said all students of the subject were eternally in- 
debted. Next came the Chrysanthemum, its Past, Present and 
Future, by Edmund W. Wood; but we need stop over it only 
enough to note the great enthusiasm of the speaker, and the cor- 
responding interest of his audience. Plant Beauty, by Henry T. 
Bailey, was an analysis of the love of flowers which could be the 
scientific love, which was not rewarded by an understanding of 
the true message; sentimental, or " indiscriminate gush "; and the 
scientific combined with sympathetic appreciation of beauty. He 
considered that in the arrangement of flowers much was to be 
learned from the Japanese. The Reverend W. T. Hutchins, — to 
whom Robert Farquhar said America owed most for the great 
development of the sweet pea here, — spoke on this flower, and 
attributed much of its popularization to the Society. In March, 
Professor William Sargent, Director of the Dominion Experi- 
mental Farm, at Ottawa, Canada, told what Canada was doing in 
horticulture, and paid graceful tributes to the Society's example, 
generosity, willingness to help, and publications, and to the 
" princely manner " in which the Arboretum had aided Canada's 
experimental work. A week later T. D. Hatfield, of Wellesley, spoke 
on what he called the gardener's most important subject, soils and 
potting; he discussed the adaptation of soil to plants, and illus- 
trated his interesting lecture by examples in potting. The last lec- 
ture of the season was upon the spread of plant diseases, by Dr. 
Erwin F. Smith of the Department of Agriculture. Plant pathology 
was a very new science; and though the talk was primarily directed 
at those who raised plants for pecuniary profit, the clearness with 
which it was expounded made it generally interesting. In the 
lectures as they were afterwards printed in the Transactions, 
Robert Manning never failed to add when possible notes contain- 
ing helpful references, or knowledge published since the sub- 
jects were discussed. 

Many new exhibitors and increased attendance marked the 


flower shows of 1897, but it was J. L. Gardner, Oakes Ames, 
Mrs. B. P. Cheney and others well-known who exhibited most in 
January and February. Orchids were improving; and J. Wheeler 
entered a white azalea, Mrs. J. H. White, for the prospective 
prize. The Victor and the Nivea, two new carnations, were shown 
in January. The necessity for a special committee on native plants 
was again evident; special botanical knowledge was essential to 
the proper handling of this branch; and on the first of October, 
1898, it was put in the hands of the School Gardens and Children's 
Herbariums Committee. Native plants were weekly taxing the 
capacity of the Lower Hall, and a great part of the interest in 
them came from the public. At the spring show was a magnificent 
display of bulbous plants, roses, carnations and violets, and a 
unique exhibit by James Comley of a new variety of Japanese 
flowering cherry, for which he received a silver medal. At the 
rose and strawberry show in June, J. E. Rothwell exhibited for 
the first time Cypripedium Frau Ida Brandt; E. V. R. Thayer 
showed a beautiful display of orchids in variety; and a collection 
of the same flower at the rhododendron show early in June won 
the Appleton gold medal for their exhibitor, H. T. Clinkaberry, 
gardener to C. G. Roebling, of Trenton, New Jersey. The new 
special peony show came on the twelfth of June, and was in many 
ways the most remarkable of the year. It was evident from the 
well-grown specimens, ranging widely in color, that great popular- 
ity was sure to ensue for the plant, especially as it was quite 
hardy. The delphiniums were good in June; and on the third of 
July the display of campanula medium was the finest ever seen 
in the Hall. James Wheeler, gardener to Joseph H. White, made 
a most remarkable display of ninety varieties of sweet peas, cor- 
rectly named and so arranged as to show the comparative merits 
of each variety. On the twenty-fourth of July, two weeks later, 
enough exhibits of the same flower were offered to illustrate well 
the advance made in their culture. The aquatic plants exhibition 
came on the twenty-first of August, and the tanks in the Upper 
Hall attracted crowds of visitors. China asters and cannas were 
likewise shown, among the latter the Canna Allemania, by H. A. 
Dreer of Philadelphia, who also brought a new pure white 
gladiolus called White Lady. As the exhibitions of the year before 


had prophesied, the dahlias displayed at the annual show on the 
first two days of September were coming back, for a time at 
least, into their ancient popularity. In the middle of September 
Jackson Dawson sent a collection of ornamental fruit and hardy 
trees. As for the chrysanthemum show on the second, third, 
fourth and fifth of November, we can do no better than quote a 
word or two from the Committee's account: it was undoubtedly 
the " finest exhibition ever made in the halls "; there were more 
entries; the flowers were perfect; the capacity of the Hall was 
taxed. Very broad hints were made for a larger appropriation. 
A hundred square feet had been allowed to each gardener, in order 
that taste in arrangement might also be shown. As against $319.75 
at the spring show, the sum of $654.50 was cleared at the 
chrysanthemum exhibition ; — these two were the only ones at 
which fees were charged in 1897. For fruits, there was an excess 
of moisture and a deficiency of sunlight during the season. The 
odd year for apples once more drew a reminder from the Com- 
mittee that the bearing year could be changed. The best apples 
at the annual show were the Roxbury Russet, the Washington 
Strawberry, and the Mcintosh Red. Pears, though small, were 
abundant; peaches had improved most encouragingly, and plums 
were fairly represented, especially by the new Japanese varieties. 
Of strawberries, the recently introduced Clyde seemed popular, 
but the Marshall continued to win all the prizes it tried for. The 
heartening feature of the recent fruit exhibitions was the steadi- 
ness of the improvement; there was no longer any chance, in 
competition, for inferior specimens. New fruits had, to be sure, 
been mostly chance seedlings; but if the growers did not seem 
to be keeping pace with the florists in improvement by cross 
fertilization, — as in the case of the rose, the carnation and the 
chrysanthemum, — we may reflect that flowers and fruits were 
not in competition with each other, and that the latter had been 
the first concern of the Society for very many years before the 
former. The frequent early rains in 1897, followed by cold 
during the growing season, were too trying for the leading 
vegetable crops. But Edward Russell's greenflesh melons — one 
of them weighing twenty-five and a half pounds — were superb; 
from the Joseph S. Fay estate came fine early potatoes, the 


Hebron, the Rose and the Savoy; and a new pea called Hender- 
son's 1897 appeared. Moreover the vegetables, like the fruits, 
showed no ill-cultivated specimens ; all would certainly have won 
prizes twenty-five years before. As the last report from the 
Library had led us to anticipate, we find an interest in nuts 
beginning — seventeen varieties were exhibited at the annual 
show; and in the following January came a lecture on their 
culture. But the mushrooms still held the centre of the stage: 
the skilful James Comley, Superintendent of the Hayes estate 
in Lexington, exhibited some extraordinarily fine ones on February 
the sixth and several times afterwards, and the throngs they 
attracted proved that the public interest was unabated. This 
interest was also very largely due to the great efforts of the 
Mycological Club. 

The year was a very busy one for the Garden Committee, but 
we have already accompanied them to many of the estates visited. 
Arthur F. Estabrook's estate at Beach Bluff was now entered for 
the Hunnewell triennial premium. This place was new, and stood 
upon elevated land overlooking the ocean; little could be said 
of it before further development of the trees, shrubs and flowers. 
Vegetable gardens, grape houses, farms, greenhouses, many 
chrysanthemum houses, and a peach orchard were given careful 
attention, but the great visit of the year was in October to the 
Berkshire Hills " f or a few days of restful pleasure " at the in- 
vitation of the Lenox Horticultural Society. A delegation met the 
Committee at the Pittsfield station, whence they went to dinner 
at the hotel. They were then driven to some of the prominent 
places, and to points from which they could get an idea of the 
estates of thousands of acres, which formed a great private park 
of twenty-five square miles studded with beautiful residences: 
— specimens of landscape gardening unequalled elsewhere in New 
England, and of course in charge of the most highly educated and 
skilful gardeners. The Committee was given a banquet in the 
evening, and they hoped that their visit might lead to an exten- 
sion of the Society's usefulness. Another interesting visit was to 
the Eliot School children's chrysanthemum exhibition at South 
Natick. At the instance of T. D. Hatfield, a hundred and fifty 
plants had been given to the children by himself and other gar- 


deners to be cared for and exhibited in the autumn; with prizes 
of Holland bulbs for winter culture. The result was a success, 
and the children wrote out their experiences with the plants and 
their enemies. 

This little exhibition touched the work being done in school 
gardens, which had now attained real importance and attracted 
wide-spread interest. Not only the George Putnam School in 
Roxbury, where the work began, but the Medford School gardens, 
and especially the Curtis School results were becoming recognized 
as valuable educational adjuncts. Several had been established 
in Trenton, New Jersey, and Mr. Clapp received a letter from an 
enthusiastic principal in the far south who had seen a copy of 
the Transactions and wanted advice for a garden of one acre! 
The children's herbarium show at the Hall in November was the 
best yet given, — 1029 specimens of flowering plants, 211 of 
ferns, and grasses, sedges, rushes and mosses, — 1366 specimens 
in all. They occupied both halls for two days. 

The Library people had done enough work on the card cat- 
logue to see that it doubled the practical value of the books, and 
now looked forward to a similar index of subjects. Sargent's 
Silva of North America lacked only two volumes, soon to come, 
of being complete, James H. Veitch had presented his very 
valuable book on his journeys in the East, and in Australia 
and New Zealand, which had been printed for private circulation; 
mushroom books had increased in number, according to the 
demand, and sixty-two volumes of agricultural newspapers had 
been bound. The Librarian, Robert Manning, somewhat sadly 
reminded the members that the interest in the Stickney fund 
would expire after another year, and took occasion to point out 
that the Library and the lectures were the Society's only claim to 
be considered a scientific institution, and were equal to any of 
its other departments, and perhaps greater as an educational 
influence. It was convenient that in 1899 the greater part 
of the money from the Francis B. Hayes bequest became 

Of the losses by death during 1897 those who had most directly 
affected the Society's activities were the Honorable Joseph S. 
Fay, Edwin W. Buswell and Samuel R. Payson. J. S. Fay's tree 


plantation at Wood's Hole had long since established him as a 
leader in the work of reforesting the denuded areas of the State, 
and in later years his fruits, flowers and vegetables were almost 
always to be found in the lists of awards. His appropriate memorial 
was Goodwill Park, the seventy acres of charming scenery which 
he gave to the people of Falmouth. E. W. Buswell we remember 
as the Treasurer, the Librarian, and the Corresponding Secretary. 
He resigned from the treasurership in 1881 when he moved to 
Brooklyn. Always passionately fond of flowers, he joined the 
Society in 1856, and served for five years on the Flower Com- 
mittee, of which he was for two years Chairman. Samuel R. 
Payson was another of the oldest and most honored members, a 
many-sided, public-spirited, able gentleman, whose constant help- 
fulness to the Society was enhanced by the confidence and affec- 
tion he inspired in its members. 

On New Year's Day of 1898 President Appleton announced 
that he should defer his address, as important matters were being 
considered which he wished to mention in it. On the nineteenth 
of February a special meeting took place to consider the question 
of disposing of the land and building, and of managing and dis- 
posing of any real estate which the Society had acquired or should 
acquire from the Francis B. Hayes estate. Respecting the latter, 
it was unanimously voted that the Financial Committee should 
dispose of the Hayes property according to their judgment; but 
the proposal that a move should be made from the present build- 
ing to a new one to be built, and that land be procured for the new 
building if it could be obtained at a satisfactory price was, after 
full discussion, defeated by a hundred and five votes to sixty-five. 
In March President Appleton expressed his concern for the 
safety of the Library from fire, — a matter which he had dwelt 
on in 1896, — and proposed a vote that rooms should be leased 
for it in a fireproof building, preferably the Tremont Building, 
until proper accommodations could be obtained. Robert Manning 
moved as an amendment that the subject be referred to the 
Library Committee; and the vote was laid on the table. Presi- 
dent Appleton then offered a vote that the President should be 
authorized to receive without expense to the Society proposals 
for the erection of a new building on the present site, and to hang 


such plans in the Lower Hall for inspection; and this vote was 

On January the eighth, 1898, J. H. Hale began the lectures 
with one on the business side of fruit culture, which was optimistic 
in regard to the possibilities, and incidentally gave much informa- 
tion on the adaptation of the Japanese plums to New England 
soil; the equalizing of the odd and the even year for apples; and 
a call for the further cultivation of chestnuts, which was repeated 
three weeks later by F. N. Bartram in a talk upon nuts and nut 
culture. We find that the black knot, by cutting and spraying 
with Bordeaux mixture, could now be controlled. John K. M. L. 
Farquhar spoke next on horticulture in Holland, whence between 
a million and a half and two million tulips were now being sent 
annually to New England, and described the Boskoop nurseries, 
where over four hundred nurserymen were employed. The Hon- 
orable Aaron Low spoke on new vegetables, giving the interesting 
histories of several with emphasis on the potato — two centuries 
before pronounced by French physicians poisonous, — and the 
tomato. The next week came Mr. Bartram's lecture on nuts, 
which admirably met the rising interest in them, as the discussion 
afterwards proved, Jackson Dawson and Robert Manning having 
had experience with them. There was no lecture on the fifth of 
February, but President Appleton spoke of the desirability of 
the Society's giving more attention to forestry and kindred in- 
terests, and a committee was formed to give special attention to 
the preservation and improvement of Massachusetts woodlands, 
to secure the enforcement of laws on the subject, to suggest lec- 
tures, and to have authority to offer prizes for written contribu- 
tions to forestry knowledge. In February were given lectures on 
old insect enemies, and street trees, both of a conversational 
character; and on the twenty-sixth an account of the national 
flower movement, by F. L. Sargent, President of the Columbine 
Association of Cambridge. This popular attempt to adopt a 
national flower was unprecedented; and since matters of taste 
as well as of symbolism were involved, it is hardly strange that 
the discussion grew broader and wider as it went on. In other 
countries floral emblems have played a part in their histories; 
in America the mayflower, probably the first candidate for the 


national flower, was one of the first blossoms seen by the Pilgrims 
upon landing, and by Washington's army after the winter at 
Valley Forge: not very striking credentials. It grows wild in the 
thirteen original states, has an independent spirit, defies culti- 
vation (the latter characteristic seems two-edged) and suggests 
a five-pointed star. But it was not to be had on national holidays, 
and not known in most states, — and worst of all, it already 
represented Nova Scotia. The golden-rod at first seemed a more 
promising candidate, and defeated the mayflower in an election 
carried on in 1889 by L. Prang and Company by means of book- 
lets with chromolithographs. But where was it on Memorial Day 
and the Fourth of July; and now could its asthma-giving habits 
be overlooked? As the Columbian celebration approached, the 
pansy and the Indian corn were nominated, and a society repre- 
senting the former somehow induced an Iowa representative to 
introduce two bills taking liberties with the flag — which of 
course failed. Poetry written about Indian corn failed to over- 
balance the great disadvantage of its foreign birth. The Columbine 
Association, of which the lecturer was President, wanted the 
columbine for the following reasons: it was red, white and blue; 
it grew in every section of the country; its name was etymolog- 
ically connected with Columbia and Columbus ; it belonged to the 
genus aquilegia, which was connected with aquila, our emblem; 
its delicate beauty and power of endurance well symbolized 
American womanhood, and its courage and hardihood America's 
noble sons; and, if you will believe it, there were thirteen species 
of aquilegia indigenous in the United States. Bacon certainly had 
no better reasons for writing Shakespeare's plays. It was dis- 
tributed through all the states except " perhaps " those on the 
lower Mississippi; was available on the holidays; was decorative 
in design; was the favorite of poets; and had never been used 
as an emblem by any other people. Alas that, say, some Lindbergh 
of the nineties could not have carried it with him on a memorable 
flight, or Dewey have worn it at Manila Bay. The Relation of 
our Public Schools to Rural and Urban Life, and the Value of 
Nature Studies in our Own System of Public Instruction; the 
Russell lecture on the Resistance of Plants to Parasitic Fungi; 
and a talk about some native ferns of New England by Henry 


L. Clapp, are subjects which we should expect from the contem- 
porary exhibitions and activities, and the last is a good example 
of the effect of teaching on the teacher. Late in April Cornelius 
Van Brunt, of New York, spoke before the members of the 
Society and the Appalachian Mountain Club on the wild flowers 
of the Canadian Rockies, and President Appleton welcomed the 

The climatic conditions of the year 1898 were most unusual, 
and the results peculiar. March was mild, and the frost was in 
many places out of the ground by the tenth. After that there was 
no freezing, and some days were very warm; but the second of 
April was a cold winter day, with ground frozen hard, and a 
driving snowstorm. For ten days the mercury ranged from 
eighteen to thirty degrees: March and April had changed places. 
There were heavy rainstorms in May which washed the pollen 
off the blossoms and interfered with the bees. One result of the 
conditions was that the productions of a vast extent of country 
were brought into New England markets very nearly together, 
with consequent disaster to all concerned; and another was of 
course the difficulty of proper drainage for the fruit trees. The 
exhibitions naturally mirrored the results somewhat. On New 
Year's Day, 1898, W. W. Lunt showed for the first time in 
America the Cypripedium bellatulum album; and two weeks later 
Oakes Ames made a unique display of orchids. In March the 
Farquhars showed a new narcissus. At the spring exhibition came 
close competition in forced roses and carnations, and splendidly 
cultivated plants from Dr. C. G. Weld, and Messrs. J. L. Gardner 
and W. S. Ewell and Son; and in June, H. Hollis Hunnewell made 
a most remarkable display of rhododendrons, and F. S. Davis 
one of hybrid aquilegias. At the peony show, for which Messrs. 
Kelway and Son of England began to offer medals, were re- 
markable collections, and Farquhar and Company won a silver 
medal with a display of hybrid pyrethrums. Sweet peas, peren- 
nial phloxes, the Rea Brothers' show of veronica longiflora, 
variety subsessilis — of a rich blue, aquatics and gladioli were 
all well shown; and at the annual show on the thirty-first of 
August and the first of September dahlias proved one of the most 
interesting of the exhibits of the year. At this show Oakes Ames 


introduced Dracaena Godseffiana. Jackson Dawson later received 
a silver medal for Euonymus Bungeanus, a most remarkable 
hardy small tree with its " slender branches quite enveloped with 
orange-red fruits with pink pericarps." The chrysanthemum show 
took up as much space as could be had, and was more " mar- 
vellous " in quality than ever. At it was also shown by E. G. Asmus 
of West Hoboken, New Jersey, the new rose Liberty, which drew 
intense admiration. The importance of the exhibits of native 
plants continued to increase. James Wheeler received the pro- 
spective prize of thirty dollars for the best seedling flowering 
plant, — the white azalea, which had now been exhibited for 
three years. The fruits were not abundant except the strawberry, 
which was too plentiful for those not near the market to profit; 
but the exhibitions were large, and if the apple crop was only 
forty-five per cent of the yearly average, it might reasonably be 
expected that the next year — though an odd one — would make 
up the deficiency, as we shall find that it did. Some vegetable vines 
showed rank and over-luxuriant growth, at the expense of the 
crop; but to others the season was favorable. Tomatoes and 
mushrooms again attracted most notice at the spring exhibition. 
This attention the latter held throughout the season, though it was 
but lately that Professor Mendel of Yale had shown that the belief 
in its great nutritious value was an error. The annual exhibition 
of vegetables in the Lower Hall was well above the average. 

The Garden Committee had another busy season visiting veg- 
etable farms, vineries, greenhouses, orchards, chrysanthemum, 
orchid and carnation houses, and watching the estates develop. 
They awarded the Hunnewell triennial premium to the David 
Nevins estate, whose hospitable owner had died abroad during 
the year, and reported a charming improvement in that of A. F. 
Estabrook, in its second year of competition. The visit to G. M. 
Whitin's orchid house was made delightful by the hospitality 
the Committee and many others received, and the house of 
calanthes, in full bloom, excited the utmost admiration. A word 
about the Putnam School garden must suffice to indicate the work 
being creditably imitated by others. The seventy-two by forty- 
eight-foot garden was now crowded, mostly with perennials. The 
pupils sketched plants in various stages of growth, ferns were 


studied as usual by the Ninth Grade, and the composite flowers 
in the garden were studied by the Seventh. The Curtis School 
and the Swan School of Medford, a school garden in Bath, Maine, 
the Children's Garden in Dayton, Ohio — an enterprise under- 
taken by the National Cash Register Company — and the 
Trenton Public Schools, were all faithfully described. There was 
not room enough in both halls for the children's herbarium 
specimens, — 2252 sheets as against 1366 the year before. 

The income from the Stickney Fund 1 of twelve thousand dol- 
lars was at an end, for the principal now went to Harvard College. 
It had amounted to twenty-one thousand dollars during the past 
thirty years, and from a commonplace collection of books the 
Library had grown into one of the best of its kind in the world. 
The course of events has shown us that without the clause in the 
will which limited the use of the fund to the purchase of books, 
it would hardly have been possible to induce the Society as a 
whole to sanction the wise policy intended by Josiah Stickney, 
framed by E. S. Rand, Jr., and Francis Parkman, and faithfully 
carried out by W. E. Endicott and Robert Manning. The results 
of that policy were now clear to everybody, and there was no 
longer any danger of its being abandoned. The Committee 
promised to buy fewer books, if possible, but confidently asked 
for a larger appropriation in order to continue to obtain those 
necessary to maintain the position of the Library; and received 
an appropriation of a thousand dollars. Robert Manning nar- 
rowly watched the Society's needs, and it is pleasant to 
see his satisfaction when, after reporting the acquisition of 
Douglas and Scott's Hemiptera Heteroptera, he adds trium- 
phantly, " This is so important a work that the Assistant En- 
tomologist of the Gypsy Moth Commission made two journeys 
to Amherst to consult it. Now he can find it without going so far." 

We may at the present juncture note one or two figures reported 
by Treasurer Charles E. Richardson for 1898. The salaries of the 
Secretary, two assistants and the Treasurer amounted to $4300, 
and the City tax to $3141.69. From the rent of the stores came 

1 In February, 1900, a letter from President Eliot of Harvard was read saying 
that the income from the Stickney fund had been assigned by the Corporation to the 
support of a course to be given at the Lawrence Scientific School of Landscape 
Architecture, and that Frederick L. Olmsted, Jr., was to be the lecturer. 


$11,266.66, from the halls $2500, and from Mount Auburn 
$3156.21. From the F. B. Hayes bequest had been received $133,- 
333-33 > and the specific bequest of $10,000. The assets of the 
Society were $482,721.65, the liabilities $55,95543, and the 
surplus therefore $426,766.22. There were but 738 members. 

In his annual address on the seventh of January, 1899, Presi- 
dent Appleton announced that there was nothing to do but put 
up with the present building for a while longer, and thanked 
those who had helped him in presenting to the Society the several 
plans of which he had spoken a year before, and which he had 
hoped it would be possible to execute. Since the present site could 
not be improved or changed, he suggested that less noise would 
reach the rooms from outside if smoother pavements were laid 
on the adjoining streets, — a benefit to all buildings in the neigh- 
borhood. Since the Society stood " for the public good," the city 
would probably grant a hearing; and indeed it was a pity that 
rubber tires could not be required for all city vehicles, and rubber 
heels on the shoes of all city horses, so that until automobile 
vehicles came into general use the condition of the inhabitant of 
the city would become mitigated by more restful surroundings. 
Such conditions would delight the Society's audiences, certainly, 
and spur on its workers in their charitable horticultural efforts. 
A certain guidance and control of the direction of city traffic, 
and suitable paving, seemed to the President an appropriate 
thought at this time, and he recommended it for consideration. 
Some years ago the city authorities, unwilling to grant a place on 
the Public Garden or Common, had suggested half of the land on 
which the Institute of Technology was afterwards situated, — 
without cost, Mr. Appleton had heard. This was declined, pre- 
sumably because it was too far out of town. The President hoped 
that if such an opportunity should arise again the Society would 
grasp it. A hall could be erected into which teams carrying the 
plants could be driven and there unloaded; and at exhibition-times 
the aisles would be broad enough to allow the passage of invalid 
chairs without undue inconvenience to pedestrians. As to the Li- 
brary, Mr. Appleton suggested that a temporary stack-room could 
be made above the stairway in the front hall, with openings from 
the gallery: thus congestion would be relieved, and buried volumes 


brought into use. The Honorable Virgil C. Gilman moved a vote 
of thanks for the valuable practical suggestions, which was unani- 
mously passed. 

On the fourth of March, 1899, a special meeting took place at 
ten o'clock by the request of fifteen prominent members to con- 
sider a recommendation of the Executive and Finance Committees 
to buy a piece of land on the southwest corner of Boylston and 
Exeter Streets; and to decide what to do about acquiring land, 
erecting a building, providing funds, and disposing of the present 
property. The plan was to buy from the Boston and Albany rail- 
road 16,000 square feet, — 100 on Boylston Street and 160 on 
Exeter — at fourteen dollars per foot. But the Railroad's terms 
were $39,200 more than the Society's offer; and for this reason, 
and because another site had been offered at a much lower price, 
the Committee had that very morning withdrawn its proposal, and 
now left the selection of a site to the meeting. Two motions were 
then made, one to procure land on the corner of Boylston and 
Hereford Streets, and the other to buy on the northeast corner of 
Boylston Street fronting on the Fenway, opposite the Massachu- 
setts Historical Society's Building. The latter was at once unani- 
mously rejected, and a debate arose on the former, which had been 
offered by Benjamin C. Clark of the Building Commitee. After 
thorough discussion by Messrs. B. P. Ware, W. E. Endicott, E. B. 
Wilder, J. E. Davenport, W. C. Strong, O. B. Hadwen, Rev. C. 
Terry, and J. H. Woodford, a motion to adjourn sine die was car- 
ried by a vote of forty-nine to thirty-two. The next notice of the 
selection of a new site was on the first of April, when Joseph H. 
Woodford brought up the subject at a business meeting, and advo- 
cated the purchase of a lot on the corner of Huntington Avenue 
and Oxford Terrace. He finally moved that the selection should be 
left to the Executive Committee; but G. D. Moore moved as an 
amendment that the Committee on Building should consider re- 
building on the present site, and purchasing the land in the rear of 
the building. Pending discussion of these motions, the meeting 
adjourned to the sixth of May; but on the twenty-second of April 
a special meeting was held at the request of fifteen members, — 
four of whom had been on the list of those who called the meeting 
of March the fourth — to listen to a report of the two committees, 


and to see whether the Society would buy land at the corner of 
Huntington and Massachusetts Avenues, extending to Falmouth 
Street, opposite the new Music Hall; grant power to erect a new 
building on it; and mortgage the Society's property to do this, 
and sell or improve the real estate at 101 Tremont Street as seemed 
best. Colonel Solomon Lincoln offered the motions and also one 
that the President should appoint a committee of five, with himself, 
the President, as Chairman, with full powers to erect a building 
at a cost of not more than two hundred and twenty-five thousand 
dollars. The result was 257 votes in the affirmative and seventy- 
seven in the negative; and on the sixth of May President Apple- 
ton announced as the other members of the Committee, Charles 
F. Curtis, George A. Nickerson, Charles S. Sargent, and William 
J. Stewart. This Committee at once chose Edmund M. Wheel- 
wright as the architect of the new building. 

As the pleasant prospect of a new home grew more definite we 
find imaginations beginning to come into play; on the first of July 
Lever ett M. Chase moved that the subject of placing on the walls 
of the new building mural tablets inscribed with the names of 
eminent horticulturists should be referred to the Building Com- 
mittee; and in November J. H. Woodford moved that the three 
statues on the Tremont Street building, the two tablets on the walls 
of the staircase hall, and the two boxes in the corner-stone be re- 
served and reincorporated in the new building. At the meeting on 
the sixth of May the interest in the Society's new plans was shown 
by the election of forty-one new members, at that on the seventh 
of October thirty-one, and at the next meeting, seventeen more. On 
the second date President Appleton proposed by letter that an 
amendment to the Constitution and By-Laws should be made to 
permit voting by proxy, which was discussed; and a motion to lay 
the subject on the table and a question whether it should be en- 
tered on the record for final action in January were both nega- 
tived, the latter unanimously. At the next meeting the President 
moved for a reconsideration of the question of voting by proxy, 
and on a question put to vote of the legality of any action on the 
subject at this time, the Chair was sustained. A vote on the main 
question was then taken, and the proposed amendment was de- 
feated by a vote of fifty to forty-six. But in December the Com- 


mittee showed two estimates of the costs of the proposed building, 
one based on the price of materials at the time it was authorized 
— when it could have been erected within the amount appropri- 
ated; and the other, made lately, so much higher that they de- 
cided to postpone further consideration of the subject until March. 
So we may leave the matter undecided until then, and return to a 
review of the lectures and flowers of 1899. 

The former began with the Russell lecture on fungi, and was 
followed a week later by one on peach culture, by J. H. Hale. This 
was interesting because a genuine revival of peach culture was 
succeeding the apathy occasioned by the yellows thirty years be- 
fore, — and by " changed climatic conditions," said the lecturer, 
without questioning whether such a phenomenon had actually 
occurred. The scarceness of peaches had been due to the winter- 
killing of buds, and somewhat to the failure to choose high land 
and well-drained, naturally dry soil. As to grading the fruit, the 
lecturer declared that only intelligent women could do it: men 
will lay aside the finest specimens to put on top; women sort 
them honestly, while men either cannot or will not do so. A band 
of music playing in the packing shed from two until dark in the 
lecturer's Georgia orchard got twenty-five per cent more work 
out of the two hundred girls who were employed there than had 
ever been accomplished without it. The yellows was unknown in 
the south and in California. Injurious Insects and their Transfor- 
mations came next, and included in the discussion an appeal to 
the ladies not to wear birds on their " bonnets." More like a scien- 
tific college lecture was that on the uses of nitrogen to crops, by 
Professor Caldwell of Cornell; and on the twenty-fifth of Feb- 
ruary W. R. Sessions drew a most entertaining contrast between 
the agriculture of ancient times and that of Massachusetts. From 
the lecture we learn many interesting facts : there were now thirty- 
five agricultural societies, each drawing an annual bounty of six 
hundred dollars from its state treasury; in 1885 the proportion 
of farmers to those in other occupations in Massachusetts was 
about one to twelve; in 1890 nearly six hundred thousand dol- 
lars' worth of plants and well over a million's worth of cut flowers 
were sold in the state; and the value of the total agricultural 
products of the state was nearly fifty-three million. In the discus- 


sion which followed we find for the first time a clear example of 
what we have dimly perceived before, the inertia or resistance 
which the introduction of scientific methods as expounded in the 
lectures had to overcome in the traditional cultivator whose edu- 
cation had come entirely from personal experience. How skilfully 
and sympathetically the conversion was managed is not the least 
interesting phase of the matter. The lecturer had remarked that 
haphazard farming could no longer serve, and that the day was 
past when " any fool could be a farmer." Varnum Frost at once 
asked what the qualifications for success were in the farmer ; and 
Mr. Sessions, warned perhaps by his tone, explained that he had 
referred to the farmers of a century ago, when the brightest boy 
on the farm was picked for a minister, a lawyer or a doctor, and 
the dullest left to cultivate the farm. The successful farmer of to- 
day, he added, was the brightest and most competent man, and 
loved his calling. Mr. Frost then observed that he knew a man 
who could neither write nor read, and was as successful as any 
farmer he ever knew. Farming, he observed, needed good common 
sense, but not a liberal education; and he believed he could tell 
anyone in five minutes all there was to know about any branch of 
farming. The only trouble with it was that it was a relief business 
for a decayed professional or business man. At this point A. W. 
Cheever moved that Mr. Frost should have five minutes to tell the 
meeting all he knew about strawberry growing; and as Frost had 
taken prizes for strawberries at the exhibitions of the past year, 
this graceful remark headed off further " discussion " for the 
time. At the meeting on the fourth of March the Extraordinary 
Season of 1898 along Horticultural Lines was discussed; and 
a week later came Market Gardening, which formed a good sequel 
to Mr. Sessions' lecture, and contained an exhortation to farmers 
not to "go west," but to acquire some of the cheap land aban- 
doned because those who destroyed its character did not under- 
stand its possibilities. Next came a talk by the energetic John K. 
M. L. Farquhar, who had spoken the year before about the Hol- 
land nurseries. He had noticed the growing horticultural im- 
portance of Japan, and therefore visited it during the summer. 
What he saw convinced him that Japan could not, as many feared, 
become a serious rival of American or European nurserymen; 


but he gave interesting accounts, illustrated by the stereopticon, 
of curious trees, one, a kinka-kuji, in the form of a sailing junk 
which had been trained for three hundred and fifty years, and an- 
other over a thousand years old with a trunk thirty-eight feet in 
diameter. The final lecture was by Mrs. F. H. Tucker, of New- 
ton, on the actual and the possible treatment of roadsides, which 
she delivered at the request of the Society's Forestry and Roadside 
Improvement Committee. A week later a hundred and fifty dollars 
was voted to the Committee for the year, and we shall see that 
Mrs. Tucker's aid was again called in a year later. She outlined a 
plan of attack by considering in detail the actual condition and 
treatment of roads, the practical and artistic treatment possible, 
and the manner of attaining such treatment. The subject asso- 
ciated itself readily of course with the care of trees in the cities, 
and enlisted the sympathies of 0. B. Hadwen, whose city of Wor- 
cester had become a shining example. 

In consequence of the results of the season of 1898 the Com- 
mittee on Establishing Prizes took measures to encourage the 
more extensive exhibition of plants new to cultivation, such as 
recently discovered species and hybrids between existing kinds, 
and to bring about a revival of the orchid exhibits of ten to fifteen 
years before. In both these classes there had been so distinct a 
falling off that some stimulant was needed. The astonishing re- 
sult in 1899 was three new palms, fifty-five new orchids, and 
seventeen new varieties of dipladenias exhibited for the first time. 
It was Oakes Ames, who put his records and herbarium at their 
disposal, that the Committee thanked for the ease with which they 
determined the varieties; and the gardeners also were heartily 
commended for the " skill and knowledge in perfecting for their 
employers the magnificent specimen plants shown throughout the 
year." Some of the things most interesting botanically were 
Cattleya Hardyana, by Oakes Ames ; six new varieties of Anoec- 
tochilus, by W. Duckham; six varieties, of American production, 
of Cymbidium eburneo-Lowianum, by G. McWilliam, for which 
the gold medal was awarded; and Areca Ilsemanni and Licuala 
Jeanenceya, exhibited on the sixth of May for the first time in the 
country, by J. S. Bailey, whose gardener was W. Donald. There 
were four new orchids at the rhododendron show, one of them 


exhibited here for the first time, Miltonia Bleuana, variety 
nobilior, by H. Hollis Hunnewell, which won the silver medal. 
To G. McWilliams was awarded the gold medal for hybrid 
dipladenias, with which he had been experimenting since 1883, 
and in which he had succeeded by incessant labor in producing 
great size and gorgeous color. At the chrysanthemum show the re- 
sults of the utmost skill were shown in every exhibit, and Mrs. 
B. P. Cheney was adjudged the winner. The flowers did not fare 
so well as the plants, because of peculiar weather conditions at 
the time of the principal shows. At the spring show a new white 
carnation, Marquis, came from E. L. Marquisee, and won a silver 
medal. The rhododendrons suffered severely from the drought, 
but the peonies were very effective, and showed unmistakable 
increase in popularity, perhaps because of the Kelway medals. 
The J. S. Fay estate's display and Jackson T. Dawson's hybrid 
roses alone saved the rose show from utter failure because of the 
drought — which injured even the aquatics in July by lowering 
the pool levels. The dahlia show was the best one of the year, a 
revelation of the flower's value. The chrysanthemum show brought 
out less competition than usual, and there were no entries of any 
seedlings, which indicated some decline of interest; but we shall 
find that the peak of the flower's popularity was not yet past. As 
had been predicted, the apple crop in 1899 made up for the failure 
of the year before. All exhibitions were good, but the strawberries 
were the most interesting of the fruits because of more new varie- 
ties. The effect of the dry weather was early maturity in fruits, 
and little trouble from fungous growths. The almost unprecedent- 
edly severe winter of 1898-99 did not hurt the plums, but de- 
stroyed the bulk of the peach crop. The " intensive " vegetable 
gardeners kept their exhibits up to the standard in spite of 
drought, by irrigation plants; in March came magnificent mush- 
rooms from A. W. Crockford, but thereafter they diminished. 
Mr. Crockford also exhibited a new cucumber, Columbia; and 
the Honorable Aaron Low received the first silver medal awarded 
in many years for his new seedling potatoes. 

Seventeen visits were made during 1899 by the Garden Com- 
mittee, which included carnation, chrysanthemum, tomato, cu- 
cumber and grape houses, strawberry and vegetable gardens, 


conservatories, and several estates. A. F. Estabrook's grounds at 
Beach Bluffs had done so well with flowers, lawn, shrubs and trees 
that it received the Hunnewell triennial premium, and the Oliver 
Ames estate at North Easton, occupied by Oakes Ames, was 
entered this year for the same prize. It consisted of fine stone build- 
ings, beautiful ponds devoted to aquatics, and an undulating sur- 
face covered with various superb forest trees. The remarkable stove 
and greenhouses contained a very large collection of orchids and 
other plants from all over the world, of which we have seen speci- 
mens at the exhibitions. G. A. James's estate at Nahant was also 
entered. It consisted of twenty-five acres of land and rocks at the 
end of the promontory, where thirty years before were wind- 
swept sand dunes. The sea still roared over the immense boulders 
on the shore; but the sand was hidden by a thick coating of loam; 
trees, shrubs and flower-beds had been planted; and the desert 
had blossomed. One of the pleasantest of the visits was to the 
old-fashioned, peaceful place at Methuen of Mrs. David Nevins, 
whose husband we remember had died abroad the year before; 
and one of the most interesting was to the three thousand plants 
of the American Beauty rose, at the Waban Conservatories of 
E. M. Wood and Company. This rose, discovered in General 
Bancroft's grounds at Washington some years before, had of 
course captivated all rosarians. The school gardens were prosper- 
ing and multiplying. The hundred and fifty species of native 
flowering plants and ferns had turned a part of the George 
Putnam School grounds into a bit of the country; nine classes ob- 
served and sketched there; and a plot of land of the same size 
in the girls' yard was being made into a garden, with a prospect 
of half an acre more for the purpose on adjoining land recently 
bought by the city. To follow the spread of the school garden idea 
would take us unnecessarily far afield: it was adopted by an in- 
creasing number of schools; Mr. Clapp brought back from his 
visit abroad a full account of the German school methods; and at 
the Framingham State Normal Practice School an early interest 
was implanted in those who were to teach. The children's her- 
bariums were shown in the Hall in December, and amounted to 
seventeen hundred specimens. These, with the collections of the 
Boston Mycological Club, and a series of almost weekly exhibits 


of cultivated native plants from Robert Manning, made the Hall 
a Mecca for those who were interested. Finally, the matter of 
forestry and roadside improvement was going forward vigorously 
through a compilation of the statutes on the subject, and all pos- 
sible information and investigation in regard to roadside trees 
throughout the state, and the obstacles to be overcome. Largely 
through the efforts of James S. Pray, four thousand circulars were 
sent to mayors and selectmen, and replies from a hundred and 
twenty-five cities and towns indicated a strong and sympathetic 

Early in 1899 the Society lost a very valuable member by the 
death of Charles N. Brackett, who had joined forty-eight years 
before and served as Chairman of the Vegetable Committee for 
thirty-two years. Azell C. Bowditch, Waldo 0. Ross, and Ben- 
jamin G. Smith were others whose losses were deeply felt, all 
elderly men, the first two members of important committees, and 
the last a vice-president from 1880 to 1891. In the resolutions on 
these deaths are seen very clearly the deep regard and affection 
which usually seemed to characterize the relations between the 
committeemen, and they bear out the old claim that nothing so 
effectually abolishes superficial distinction as the love of horti- 
culture. A hundred and forty-six life and seven annual members 
had been added during the year, which made the total eight 
hundred and fifty-eight, — a striking increase. 

On January the sixth, 1900, President Appleton announced 
the purchase of the land for the new building. We have seen that 
because of the rise in cost of materials, construction had been 
deferred. This meant that economy was necessary; and since only 
two of the twenty-five exhibitions of 1899 asked entrance fees, 
Mr. Appleton suggested that more, or even all of them, should 
do the same. " Our charity," he said, " should, to be the best, be 
gauged to meet the intelligence in horticulture that we desire to 
promote. The mere payment of money prizes does not accomplish 
this, but it is the high standard that we set at our exhibitions 
which will encourage advanced quality in plants, flowers and 
fruits. It should be to advance the quality of those, as we find 
them in the market, and hold them at a high standard, that we 
should direct our plan of management." He expected large attend- 


ance at the shows in the new building from the metropolitan 
district, and believed that the cooperation of the street and steam 
railways could be counted on. On the motion of W. C. Strong it 
was then voted that the Building Committee should submit plans 
for the new building before any contracts were made. 

The special meeting to consider whether to proceed with the 
building according to the plans and to grant the necessary in- 
crease of sixty thousand dollars in the appropriation, was held on 
the twenty-sixth of May. Augustus P. Loring moved in favor of 
both proposals, J. H. Woodford moved that the two matters be 
voted on separately, W. C. Strong urged caution, and Henry L. 
Clapp asked what provision had been made for a herbarium! 
The vote was taken with all formality, and of the hundred and 
ninety-six cast, a hundred and eighty-two were in favor and 
fourteen contrary-minded. On the seventh of July, when the time 
for the final action came, the sixty thousand dollars was unani- 
mously voted. The Tremont Street building was sold for six hun- 
dred thousand dollars. 

The Russell Foundation lecture, an institution now nine years 
old, was the first of the series of winter discussions, and dealt 
with the rusts of horticultural plants, particularly of the chrysan- 
themum and asparagus. The next week, 0. B. Hadwen, whose 
estate in Worcester included a sixty-acre farm and many superb 
ornamental trees, set out by himself half a century before, gave 
an account of his long experience which fully sufficed to explain 
his success. He spoke as though he felt that the trees had a kind 
of consciousness — it required a lifetime to discover the most 
favorable conditions for every sort. Each and every tree seemed 
to need its own special treatment . . . some trees refused to 
grow near other kinds, and would lean away from them . . . 
the exudations from the roots of some are apparently detrimental 
to the growth of others ... a natural and at the same time a 
mysterious force seemed to govern the development of each: the 
grower sees it, but cannot explain it. At the end of the lecture 
notice was given that an address was soon to be given in the Hall 
under the auspices of the Massachusetts Forestry Association on 
the subject of the forests and roadsides of the state, — further 
testimony of the vigor with which the cause was being advanced. 


The Procession of the Flowers in Pennsylvania was the title taken 
by Miss M. L. Dock for her poetical address on the following 
Saturday — an adaptation from Helen Hunt Jackson's and T. W. 
Higginson's Processions, and a treatment similar to that of 0. W. 
Holmes' The Seasons. But she decried the popular igno- 
rance of botanical nomenclature, and pointed out that although 
nobody spoke of a parrot or a canary bird as " that biped/' or of 
a terrier as " that quadruped," we continually hear a tree of a 
perfectly familiar species spoken of as " that tree " ! In February 
John K. M. L. Farquhar again entertained his associates with a 
topic from foreign lands, this time the fields and wilds of the 
Hawaiian Islands, especially the curious trees and their uses ; and 
S. D. Willard delivered an optimistic and stimulating lecture on 
the future outlook for the fruit grower, in which, as J. H. Hale 
had done two years before and H. W. Collingwood last year in 
his talk upon market gardening, the lecturer urged the prospective 
cultivator to lay hold of the cheap and perfectly good land in 
New England and elsewhere between the lakes and the ocean. The 
discussion naturally drifted around to the San Jose scale, the only 
foe which still defied the agricultural colleges and experiment 
stations. Mrs. Tucker's lecture on forestry and roadsides came 
next, and gave full evidence of her careful personal investigations. 
A beautiful exhibition of carnations being held at the Flower 
Market under the Park Street Church, and some of the lovely 
blooms on the lecturer's table on the tenth of March, were good 
illustrations of the subject for that day, the improvement of the 
carnation in America. The carnation was so-called because the 
original flower was flesh-colored; and the history of its cultivation 
extends back well over a thousand years. In 1597 Gerard wrote 
that to " describe each new variety . . . were to roll Sisyphus' 
stone or number the sands." The great advance in America was 
very largely due to the American Carnation Society, which num- 
bered over three hundred members in 1900, and met every Febru- 
ary at different points in the United States. The American 
carnation, Dianthus caryophyllus, was derived from the French 
strain. The lecturer threw on the screen a beautiful illustration of 
five blooms illustrating the evolution from a single to a double 
flower, and then the seedling Governor Roosevelt, the most ad- 


vanced step yet achieved — four inches in diameter. The cultiva- 
tion of the flower at this time employed probably five thousand 
persons, and two million dollars of capital. In January, 1901, Mrs. 
J. Montgomery Sears gave three hundred and fifty dollars to the 
Society as prizes for seedling carnations. The increasing interest 
in Japanese plums as evidenced by the fruit exhibits of the season 
is foretold by a talk on the subject by G. S. Butler on the seven- 
teenth of March. There was of course in the fruit itself no 
superiority in quality to some of the European or domestic varie- 
ties, but the tree's comparative freedom from disease, resistance 
to curculio attacks, and heavy cropping qualities had made it 
a good acquisition as soon as Luther Burbank and others had 
proved its adaptability to a wide range of territory. Next came 
Apple Culture for Profit, — a loyal appreciation of the New Eng- 
land apple by J. H. Hale, in which he said that three-quarters of 
the apples in the Boston market were the " abominable but good- 
looking Ben Davis," and that Sutton Beauty was " better in 
every way than the Baldwin." He was joined by Robert Manning 
in mourning the ravages of the apple maggot, or railroad worm, 
for which no remedy had appeared. Fungus diseases common to 
cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce under glass were discussed, at 
the last meeting of the series, by Professor G. E. Stone of Am- 
herst, who gave high praise to the lettuce growers about Boston, 
probably having in mind George D. Moore's lettuce house in 
Arlington, which contained over fourteen thousand heads. 
Analyses had proved that the soil of Arlington was the best in 
the United States for lettuce. We shall agree with Mr. Harrison, 
who said at the conclusion of the series that the lectures had carried 
us everywhere and through all seasons. 

As before, admission was charged to but two exhibitions in 
1900. President Appleton's recommendation to the Plant Com- 
mittee to observe strict economy in awarding prizes and to follow 
the rules closely in regard to them, necessarily resulted in an ex- 
perimental year, and the Committee was unable to report it en- 
tirely successful. One reform they made, however: it had been 
the custom to award a silver medal to the first exhibitor of any 
new or rare plant, and now they had departed in some cases from 
this, and given first-class certificates instead, in order to keep the 


higher honor for the originator. An allied problem was the one 
that had troubled the committees before: in the matter of the 
superior cultivation prizes, who was to be credited, the owner who 
had nothing to do with the plant's culture, or the gardener who 
provided the skill and the care? No answer was suggested. The 
Committee's new standards and requirements had brought about 
a revolt from two of the gardeners, who would not continue to 
exhibit; the hopeless question of whether exhibitors showed for 
the prizes or for the love of horticulture arose; and other indica- 
tions of unrest and dissatisfaction appeared. The exhibitions fell 
off in size. The interesting exhibits at the spring show were spring 
bulbs, and a collection of curious old Japanese plants, some over 
a hundred years old. In May, C. H. Souther showed a new chrys- 
anthemum, J. S. Bailey, a new palm, Kentia Sanderiana, and 
the Floral Exchange of Philadelphia a new rose, Queen of Edgely, 
much like the American Beauty, but in color a soft pink ; and in 
June, Jackson Dawson showed Lady Duncan rose. At the small 
annual exhibition many classes were not shown; but Oakes Ames 
exhibited Caladium Oakes Ames for the first time, and the dahlias 
were excellent. The plants at the chrysanthemum show exceeded 
in quality any that had ever been seen, especially those of Mrs. 
B. P. Cheney and Dr. C. G. Weld; and the innovation of the 
Society's large vases newly filled each day was a beautiful one. 
No competitors presented themselves for the Gane Memorial 
Fund prizes, offered now for the second year, probably because 
experts agreed that the varieties originated by the late H. A. 
Gane were much better adapted to the production of fine flowers 
than to even fairly good specimen plants. But the show was the 
crowning one of the year, and splendidly testified to the skill of 
the growers. Mr. Oakes Ames presented the Society with a col- 
lection of water color paintings of orchids; and the Transactions 
were beginning to print excellent half-tones of the finer flowers, 
gardens and estates. A gale in September greatly reduced the 
quantity and thereby improved the quality of the apple crop, 
which had promised to be very large; but it destroyed the best 
of the pears. Peaches were more numerous than usual, and the 
Elberta, largely grown in the South, was promising. The increas- 
ing cultivation of the Japanese varieties of plums brought greater 


abundance and greater variety in this fruit; and the warm, dry 
weather late in the season favored the grapes. The Marshall 
strawberry was sustaining its reputation as an excellent and 
profitable market variety. Strangely enough the dry season did 
not seem to affect vegetables unfavorably, and the exhibits were 
excellent. In July a new hybrid melon came from Elbridge T. 
Gerry; and at the annual show appeared a new tomato, Maule's 

More visits were made by the Garden Committee in 1900 than 
ever before. They saw Dr. Jabez Fisher's new method of growing 
plants by sub-irrigation, and W. Preble's cucumber house, both 
at Fitchburg, and M. A. Patton's carnation house at Tewksbury. 
In June C. H. Tenney entered his eighty-acre Methuen estate 
for the Hunnewell premium, — a splendid summer place, planted 
with well-placed coniferae, groups of large Japan maples, and 
beds of rhododendrons interspersed with azaleas. The Committee 
also had to call on Mrs. David Nevins, and they made a report 
only on her hospitality. Accompanied by some of the expert 
Arlington growers they next convinced themselves that W. H. 
Heustis' Marshall strawberry garden was the finest half -acre they 
had ever seen; and in mid- July they visited O. B. Hadwen's 
magnificent trees and fruit orchard in Worcester. A. F. Esta- 
brook's grounds at Beach Bluff were equalled only by the owner's 
hospitality. At the Oliver Ames estate at North Easton, now in 
its second year for the premium, the lily ponds were full and the 
aquatics in splendid bloom. Among other visits was one to Mrs. 
A. W. Spencer's chrysanthemum house at South Framingham, 
where they found Alexander McKay, formerly gardener to David 
Nevins, in charge of the eight hundred plants of sixty-two varie- 
ties. The last visit was to the Waban Rose houses, which consisted 
of about 2500 plants of Brides and Bridesmaids, and two new 
seven-hundred-foot houses devoted to the American Beauty and 
Liberty roses. 

In 1900 Henry L. Clapp extended his school garden ideas to 
include kitchen gardens. The suggestion to use some of the land 
of the Putnam School for this purpose came from the Superin- 
tendent, E. P. Seaver, and the model for its plan and management 
from Germany. A piece of land four rods square was divided up 


into eighty-four beds, each being assigned to a pupil ; directions for 
planting were given in the classrooms ; and garden-work was held 
every Monday afternoon. Mr. Clapp threw himself into the work 
with great zeal, but with a reasonable eye to the proper propor- 
tions of a public school education. There were 18,000 schools in 
Austria-Hungary conducting such work, 4670 in Sweden, and all 
the public elementary schools in Belgium, and he wished to try 
out the matter in this country. The school garden movement had 
now spread to Louisville, Kentucky, and Cleveland, Ohio, and in 
H. H. Longsdorf 's bulletin on the Consolidation of Rural Schools 
in Pennsylvania, Mr. Clapp was copiously quoted. The exhibition 
of children's herbariums was an especially interesting one; but 
Mr. Clapp unfortunately overheard some Philistine ask " what 
was the use of studying them dried things"; and the pen with 
which he characterized such a benighted person trembled with 
indignation. Indeed, there seemed to be a good deal of use, even 
if every collector could not become a Walter Deane; for three of 
the former young exhibitors had already begun to distinguish 
themselves, especially Miss Lucy D. Ellis, winner in 1897 of the 
Davenport prize for fifty native ferns, who, studying to become 
a teacher, had been invited to give a talk on ferns before the 
teachers and pupils of the Normal School. Mrs. Henrietta L. T. 
Wolcott, who had been away on long journeys for some time, had 
brought back strange seeds from Bermuda, California, the Sand- 
wich Islands and other distant places; and all day during the 
exhibition an interested crowd examined them and listened to her 
descriptions of the trees and plants that produced them. Mr. 
Clapp was less enthusiastic about the duty of judging the exhibits 
of native plants, which had been thrust on the Committee. This 
matter did not concern children; the " struggle for money prizes," 
as he called it, irritated him; and the Saturday exhibitions meant 
continual inconvenience to teachers, who always left the city for 
their summer vacation. In the following May the task was placed 
on a committee of one, Charles W. Jenks, who at the end of the 
year demanded relief on the same grounds that Mr. Clapp had 
done, and was himself at once empowered to fill out a committee 
— which he had the utmost difficulty in doing. The native plants 
were always interesting, but the shows meant a great labor of 


love to those who judged them. Meanwhile the Committee on 
Forestry and Roadside Improvement had continued their investi- 
gations into the value of wood planting in Massachusetts, and 
now submitted the compilation of the statutes of the Common- 
wealth relative to forests and trees, which was published and 
widely distributed the next year. 

J. D. W. French and C. H. B. Breck died during the year 1900. 
Mr. French had been an exhibitor and a member of the Library 
and the Publication Committees. He left what books from his 
library the Society should select, and five thousand dollars for 
buying new ones. In 19 19 and 1920 more money accrued from his 
estate, making the total at the latter date ten thousand, one hun- 
dred and eighty-eight, — an excellent example, as W. E. Endicott 
put it, of how when one door — in this case the Stickney fund — 
shuts, another opens. C. H. B. Breck, one of the oldest members 
and son of Joseph Breck, former president and an original mem- 
ber of the Society, was himself a vice-president and a former 
chairman of the Committee of Arrangements. He was a member 
of the well-known seed company, and was loved by all his associ- 
ates. Another gift came from the will of Benjamin H. Pierce, who 
bequeathed a thousand dollars, the income of which was to be 
applied to the introduction of new fruits. Another loss, though 
not by death, came to the Society in the resignation in October of 
H. Hollis Hunnewell, who had just been elected Chairman of the 
Finance Committee and a member of the Executive Committee. 
We have seen how for nearly half a century he had been a most 
active and liberal supporter of the Society, and one of the fore- 
most cultivators and patrons of landscape art in the country; but 
as a member of the Finance Committee for thirty-four years and 
its chairman for nineteen, during times of change and perplexity, 
his incalculable services cannot so easily be particularized. His 
son, Walter Hunnewell, was unanimously chosen to fill the 
vacancy as Chairman of the Finance Committee ; and Mr. Apple- 
ton was elected to the Executive Committee. 

Besides the French and the John S. Farlow bequests — the 
latter of two thousand, five hundred dollars, — the Library re- 
ceived collections of books from the will of Waldo O. Ross and 
from Charles E. Richardson. There was therefore nothing to 


report except a jubilant apology for not asking for more room; 
but Robert Manning was having a very hard struggle to cope with 
work which was beyond the possibilities of the force employed, 
and had once succumbed to illness. The Treasurer's sheet showed 
at the end of the year 1900 a surplus of well over seven hundred 
and eighty-three thousand dollars, and the membership had in- 
creased to eight hundred and eighty-one. In October, 0. B. 
Hadwen, President of the Worcester County Horticultural Society, 
was elected President of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society 
for 1 90 1, and Mr. Appleton was on W. C. Strong's motion unani- 
mously requested to retain the chairmanship of the Building Com- 
mittee until the new Hall should be completed. 

Chapter XVII ■ 1 901-1903. THE THIRD 

PRESIDENT HADWEN'S inaugural address on the fifth 
of January, 1901, was remarkable equally for its respect 
for tradition, kindliness, perception and modesty. From 
a beginning when knowledge of the science and art of horticulture 
had hardly dawned, the Society had passed through an almost 
entire revolution in its principles and practice, and now stood at 
the head of a vast industry to which no end could be foretold, — 
one which indeed would never be reached as long as nature could 
be assisted by the intelligence of man. Did a natural law exist 
whereby each fruit or flower was endowed with a natural period 
of life, prolonged by care and cultivation or shortened by want 
of them? At least, no end was possible to the Society's usefulness, 
and Mr. Hadwen's address would not have been frank if he had 
failed to point out very earnestly that the most important steps to 
be taken at once were those which would promote that peace and 
harmony without which the Society could not hope to function 
properly. The disagreements were none the less threatening be- 
cause they were under the circumstances natural; and he closed 
his address with a plea to those who loved the Society to suffer 
their loyalty to preponderate over their differences, and to face 
the year of new experiences with the adaptability and the zeal 
which had actuated their predecessors. 

It was expected that the first exhibition in the new Hall would 
be the rose and strawberry show on the twentieth and twenty-first 
of June, because the Tremont Street building had to be vacated 
on the first of May, and the May and June shows were can- 
celled. The trustees of the Paddock Building, who had purchased 
the Tremont Street estate, offered the Society the granite statues 
on the building, the boxes in the corner stone, and the two tablets 
in the staircase hall which commemorated the founding of Mount 
Auburn and the erection of the Tremont Street Hall. Over a year 


before J. H. Woodford had suggested that these be reincorporated 
in the new building; but it was now voted that the ultimate dis- 
position of the statues should be left undecided for the .present; 
and after a conference with the donors they were put in storage, 
until an offer of a hundred and fifty dollars for them was made 
by Benjamin P. Ware. This was presumably accepted by the 
Committee to which it was referred, for we hear of them and the 
boxes x no more. 

The last exhibition in the Tremont Street Hall was for four days 
beginning with the nineteenth of March, and was notable for a 
grand display of orchids from Bayard Thayer, Dutch bulbs from 
many members, and a rich display of forced roses and carnations. 
Since the contractors had failed to complete the new building by 
the first of May, temporary fire-proof quarters were obtained for 
the deposit of the books, and a convenient suite in the Tremont 
Building, comprising, besides quiet and pleasant rooms for the 
Library, a room for committee meetings. Thither the books were 
conveyed, and not one was lost nor a pane in any book-case 
broken, as was also the happy result when they were afterwards 
removed to the new Hall. Robert Manning's only regret was that 
the members did not generally realize that the books were as ac- 
cessible as usual! Chickering Hall was also used, and several of 
the lectures in 1902 were delivered there. 

Though a detailed description 2 of the splendid new building on 
Massachusetts Avenue is unnecessary at the present day, a few 
facts about it will prove interesting. The Building Committee 
were F. H. Appleton, C. S. Sargent, W. J. Stewart, G. A. Nicker- 
son, and C. F. Curtis, and the architects and constructors Wheel- 
wright and Haven. The building is fifty-seven feet high to the 
top of the cornice, and sixty-nine and a half to the top of the 
roof. The foundation footings are of concrete widely spread upon 
the gravel and sand subsoil, which was found too coarse to permit 
economical piling. The original intention was to have a gravel 
floor in the large hall, so that pots of plants might be embedded 
in it at exhibitions; but this proved impracticable, and J. H. 
Woodford's call for concrete was answered, — though fortunately 

1 The contents of these were shown with the Library exhibit in March, 1929. 

2 There is, of course, one preserved in the Transactions. 


not his recommendation of extending a floor on the same level as 
the loggia. The walls of the large hall were of unpainted red 
brick, and it was not until James F. M. Farquhar designed and 
built his famous Italian garden in the hall for the spring exhibi- 
tion of 191 2 that this defect in coloring was appreciated enough 
to be remedied. The first floor of the building covers 18,066 
square feet; the main hall is fifty-two and a half by a hundred 
and twenty-three feet, with a height — not including the monitor 
roof — of forty-two feet; the small hall is twenty-eight by fifty- 
seven feet, and twenty-eight and a half feet high. The beautiful 
Library needs no description at the present day. The building 
cost $290,997, and thus with the land the total cost of the new 
quarters was $515,997. 

It was first opened to the public on the fourth of June, 1901, 
by the most beautiful display of flowers ever given in the country. 
This was arranged by Professor C. S. Sargent, assisted by Miss 
Beatrix Jones, and was flocked to by thousands for ten days, 
including Sunday; for though the upper stories of the building 
were not completed, and the formal dedication was not to come 
until the day of the chrysanthemum show in November, the first 
exhibition of flowers meant, to the public at least, the expected 
prophecy for the future. No premiums were offered. The lecture 
hall had a floor of rough boards, the grand exhibition hall an 
earth floor divided by gravel walks into large beds, and the 
smaller hall, with its cement floor, was given over to orchids. 
Ex-President Appleton, who recorded the show for the Transac- 
tions, utilizing the description in the Boston Transcript, charac- 
terized it as no competition for money or medals, but a great 
exhibition of what the wealth of capital in money and intelligence, 
with loyal public spirit, could do to promote interest in horti- 
culture. The aisles of the three flower-filled halls were thronged. 
On entering the lecture hall to the right, the visitor's eye was 
caught by the splendid purple wisterias from the greenhouses of 
Professor Sargent, the " moving genius of the exhibition." 3 On the 
right were long benches of gloxinias from the Hunnewell, Sargent 
and Sprague estates, interspersed with adiantum Farleyense to 
hide the pots, — a variegated group of colors with three white 

3 Boston Evening Transcript, June 4, 1901. 


wisteria plants ranged above them. On the Huntington Avenue 
side was a bench of pelargoniums in full bloom; and on the stage 
at the end of the hall was H. H. Hunnewell's palm, licuala granda, 
the finest specimen in America. On either side of this stood grace- 
ful palms of the species areca lutescens, which with a bank of 
amaryllis and lilium longiflorum made a superb effect. In either 
corner stood a bay tree from Mrs. C. F. Sprague's Italian gardens 
in Brookline, the pots masked by immense and beautiful hydran- 
geas. In the loggia between this hall and the main hall were 
several plants of the Rhyncospermum jasminoides, commonly 
miscalled jasmine, bearing thousands of delicate white blossoms 
between their shining green leaves. From this point, as the visitor 
to any later exhibition can readily remember, the effect of the 
main hall is unsurpassed; and now it was one glorious blaze of 
color. Azaleas, rhododendrons and palms stood as if growing in 
a garden; on the right a bank of white and pink Indian azaleas, 
with here and there a sport showing in the snow-white bloom, 
and on the left the red and rose varieties of azaleas massed, with 
borders of turf. In the centre of the hall were thirty-three splendid 
azaleas in pots sunk below the turf level, — one of them the 
Marie Vershaffelt; and at the end was a splendid bank of rhodo- 
dendrons from the Hunnewell estate. About the whole hall was 
a background of palms. In the small hall was the collection of 
about a thousand orchids, the best ever gathered in America — 
fifty varieties of cypripediums and about three hundred cattleyas. 
More than a thousand adian turns, and five hundred palms from 
a few inches to fifteen feet high, were used for decoration. During 
the afternoons and evenings, while the show lasted, the Boston 
Cadet Band furnished music. 

The ceremony of dedicating the Hall, which had been formally 
accepted on the twenty-first of September, was held in the Library 
on the ninth of November, while the chrysanthemum show was 
in progress below. In the absence of President Hadwen, occa- 
sioned by the sudden death of his wife, Vice-President Ware 
presided, and called upon the Reverend Edward Everett Hale 
for prayer. Mr. Ware then spoke briefly, laying much emphasis 
on the relief of having the Library in a safe place, and instancing 
the beautiful exhibition in the halls below as evidence of the 











progress of horticulture. The Honorable James L. Myers, Speaker 
of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, brought the con- 
gratulations of the State for the work being done by the Society 
for all classes of the people, and wished it godspeed for the future. 
In the absence of Congressman William H. Moody, the Reverend 
E. E. Hale, representing the cause of humanity everywhere, was 
called on, and made a characteristically felicitous address. Mr. 
Hale had been much interested in the school and window gar- 
dening work, and had assisted it in one instance by writing to the 
Department of Agriculture. The principal address of the day was 
then made by ex-President General Francis H. Appleton. 

The address was a careful and interesting review of the history 
of the Society, with enlightening comments and descriptions 
which gave it life and proportions, and a remarkably clear account 
of the circumstances, forces and personalities which led to the 
founding in 1829. While we need not record this review, we must 
notice its conclusion. Today, said the speaker, the surface of the 
State bore witness to the great work done — the amazing beauty 
of the landscapes at the estates in Metropolitan Boston; the 
great system of parks; the fields of market produce and glass 
houses at Arlington, Belmont, Revere and elsewhere conducted 
on business principles by scientific knowledge, and surpassed 
nowhere in the world; the markets for sales; the flower marts in 
many city stores; the intelligent building of roads; the school 
and the window gardening. The beautiful new Hall had been 
designed, Mr. Appleton announced, only after the structures used 
for like purposes abroad had been examined; and he concluded 
with the hope that its work might go on in the future as in the 
past. Mr. Ware then declared the building dedicated to the ad- 
vancement of horticulture. Upon a motion by General Appleton 
an expression of sympathy was sent to President Hadwen; and 
at Mr. Strong's suggestion the address prepared by the President 
was printed in the Transactions. In it we see from a slightly 
different angle the same range of accomplishment by the Society 
as that already described by General Appleton, and an enthusi- 
astic comment on the new building, — " without peer in its 
arrangements for exhibitors, its magnificent architectural effect, 
and its solidity and durability of construction." With its " refined 


environment " — for it was then, of course, distant from any 
business section — it was equal if not superior to any horticultural 
building in the world. 

At the conclusion of the dedication exercises, the assembly went 
downstairs to see the chrysanthemum show in the great new 
halls, — the official opening. The magnificence of this not only 
did full honor to the significant occasion, but proved that the 
chrysanthemum was still unrivalled in popularity. A display by 
R. and J. Farquhar and Company of standard bays, palms, 
araucarias and begonias filled the entire rear end of the hall, and 
made a welcome background to the splendid plants of chrysan- 
themums contributed by Mrs. B. P. Cheney, E. S. Converse, 
Walter Hunnewell, J. S. Bailey, Dr. C. G. Weld, James Nicol and 
others. There was an extensive display of orchids by Lager and 
Hurrell, of Summit, New Jersey, and a notable exhibit from 
Charles Evans of silver and golden gymnogrammas. 

The rose, peony and dahlia shows were missed in 1901. In 
February Mrs. F. L. Ames had exhibited at the old building a 
most remarkable group of dendrobiums. On the last day of 
November J. Tailby and Son at the request of the Committee on 
Plants exhibited their begonia, Glory of Wellesley, and received 
for it a silver medal. The first fruit exhibition in the new building, 
on the seventh of November, was a success in spite of the almost 
total failure of the apple crop; and it was increasingly evident 
that nowhere could the pear be grown so well as near Boston. 
The growers for the market now confined themselves to six or 
eight varieties. The strawberry show and the summer exhibitions 
of small fruits of course had to be omitted. The vegetables shown 
were of no unusual interest, but were so numerous that the 
exhibits filled all the allotted space and overflowed into the base- 
ment. Large exhibits were beginning to come from distant places, 
like Worcester and Taunton. 

The Garden Committee, unaffected by their change of quarters, 
had a very busy season at the houses and conservatories of the 
great commercial growers. One of the most interesting was W. W. 
Rawson's splendid lettuce house at Arlington, where for the first 
time they witnessed the new process of sterilizing the soil; and 
another was Warren H. Heustis's strawberry garden, where the 


Belmont originated, and, with the Marshall, was showing splendid 
size and quality. Flower houses and gardens — Peter Fisher's 
carnations, E. S. Converse's and Colonel Charles Pfaff's chrysan- 
themums, and W. P. Lothrop's dahlias — were visited, and the 
Farquhars' house of Gloire de Lorraine begonias drew especial 
admiration. Here was being propagated a new rose originated by 
Jackson T. Dawson, a cross between the Wichuraiana and the 
Crimson Rambler, from which much was expected. But the 
" estates " were not neglected. As usual the Committee paid a 
visit to Mrs. David Nevins in Methuen, and felt the restful charm 
of the great elms and shrubbery on her ancestral grounds. At the 
C. H. Tenney estate, Greycourt, now progressing creditably 
in its second year of competition for the Hunnewell premium, they 
saw the first bowling-green in New England. The H. H. Rogers 
estate, eight acres bordering the arm of the sea which separates 
Fairhaven from New Bedford, was now entering for the Hunne- 
well premium; and the Oliver Ames estate at North Easton 
completed its third and last year, and was awarded the premium. 
Its grand old trees, its blooming lily-ponds, its constant accessions, 
and Oakes Ames's own hybridizations made the estate a botanic 
museum of living plants. Excellent half-tones printed in the 
Transactions show the inadequacy of verbal description, and 
remind us of President Appleton's regret that there were no 
kodaks in 1829. 

The school garden movement, which had attracted Doctor 
Edward Everett Hale's attention, had now reached the Central 
States, where the National Cash Register Company had during 
the year established garden plots for boys, a two-years' course in 
gardening, and a certificate at the end of the course. Three gar- 
dens were made in Hartford also; but nearer home was one 
established by two lady members of the Twentieth Century Club 
of Boston, eighty-two beds in the yard of the English High 
School on Dartmouth Street. The Club, for which it was named, 
paid its expenses, and the Brecks supplied tools and seeds. The 
Putnam School kitchen garden came fully up to Mr. Clapp's 
hopes; so well, in fact, that it caught the eye of the Transcript, 
which said that if the masters of the schools would make more 
effort, and were better supported by a Board of Education work- 


ing in sympathy with the Horticultural Society, the children would 
learn much that would benefit the city and the state. The exhi- 
bition of herbariums, being now at a hall in the " residential 
district," brought not only more children than usual, but their 
families. The family interest in fact seemed much greater and 
more natural than the school interest, and this year the attempt 
to cultivate the latter was abandoned. Teachers were not gen- 
erally acquainted with wild flowers, and the school requirements 
left little time for collecting, pressing and mounting plants. 

We have been obliged to pass over the discussions and lectures 
of 1 90 1 in order to attend coherently to the larger interests of 
the year. The lectures presented, as might have been expected, 
more academic subjects than usual: Evergreens for Winter Effect, 
by J. W. Manning; Trees of Our Neighborhood, by Miss E. G. 
Cummings, who tells us that our suburb of Longwood got its 
name about 182 1 from a narrow strip of woodland formerly ex- 
tending from Aspinwall Avenue to Commonwealth Avenue, near 
St. Mary's Street; A Visit to Kew Gardens and Hampton Court, 
by Benjamin P. Ware, with its description of the famous Black 
Hamburg grape vine at the latter, then a hundred and thirty-two 
years old, whose twelve hundred clusters were by the Queen's 
orders distributed annually at the hospitals. The lecture on the 
ninth of February, however, must be noticed because of the com- 
ment and light it throws on a matter of immediate interest to the 
Society. Its subject was growing and exhibiting vegetables and 
fruits, and the speaker was Herbert R. Kinney, of Worcester. He 
felt that the amateurs — who more nearly resembled the ex- 
hibitors of the early days — were being driven out by the pro- 
fessionals. Though one of the latter, he sympathized with the 
former, for one was after the dollar and the other was after 
excellence. Both were needed: but he feared the amateur interest 
was dying out, and should be stimulated — not with money 
prizes, but by a gold medal. Large money prizes tended to foster 
professional exhibitors; and the country exhibitor needed the 
chance to compare his produce with that from other sections. 
The professional exhibitor naturally put more thought on what 
would please the judges than on the actual merit of his exhibit. 
The speaker explained his conclusions by concrete examples, 


especially the imperfect showing of potatoes at the exhibitions, 
and the frequent mistaken judgments on celery. In the ensu- 
ing discussion the Honorable James J. H. Gregory placed the 
farmer half-way between the two classes of men spoken of, but 
agreed with Mr. Kinney that the judging was superficial. It was 
natural that the Honorable Aaron Low and Varnum Frost, both 
members of the Vegetable Committee, should disagree with these 
conclusions, and that Mr. Frost should answer with some sharp- 
ness that he thought he knew a ripe squash as well as Mr. Gregory 
did. The Advancement of Market Gardening in the Last Twenty- 
five Years, by Michael Sullivan, of Revere, was an excellent ex- 
position of the development of the " old farmer " into the practical 
and scientific market gardener, and the speaker attributed much 
of the general improvement to Peter Henderson's book, Market 
Gardening for Profit, published in 1866. Praising the work of the 
Arlington and Belmont growers, he pronounced as dead the old 
view that books were useless, for trade secrets were now published, 
and there was now no guess-work in the use of fertilizers and 
insecticides. But Varnum Frost was unconvinced, and declared 
that science brought no good squashes, that the quality of vege- 
tables was not so good as fifty years ago, and that it was nonsense 
to say that farming could not be learned by observation. Joshua 
C. Stone added that after his forty years of farming, none of his 
sons cared to take the work up. Is this a case of opturne dictum? 
We do not know; but the transition of which the lecturer spoke 
was evidently not entirely complete. Another lecture of remi- 
niscent or retrospective character — natural at this time in the 
Society's history and at the opening of a new century — was A 
Quarter Century's Evolution in American Horticulture, by 
Patrick O'Mara, of New York; but its vivid personal memories 
of the old fashions and prices and methods of marketing flowers, 
the history of many, and the analytical handling of the subject 
make summarizing impossible. Next came a talk by Aaron Low 
on fruit growing in New England and its development during the 
last fifty years, apples, pears, plums, peaches, grapes and the 
small fruits being successively discussed, and the various varieties 
appraised — a splendid opportunity for disagreement, which was 
at once seized by Mr. Frost on the subject of the Anjou pear. It 


was at this time that Luther Burbank's work in California — 
after his earlier work in Worcester — was astonishing horticul- 
turists. At this point Joshua C. Stone asked what the use was of 
setting out trees? Life was too short, he claimed. It is not recorded 
that lightning struck the Hall; but when the lecturer retorted 
that " somebody would come after him to get the benefit of his 
work/' it rang with applause! Another sensation was caused by 
President Hadwen, who said that the Baldwin was not the best 
apple, but that the Foundling — a native of Worcester County — 
was. But Mr. Hadwen came from Worcester. In March came the 
Russell lecture on tree-destroying fungi; and then Twenty Years' 
Experience in Peach Growing, by John W. Clark. The trouble 
with peach growing was still the yellows, which were too dis- 
couraging to allow much hope for an increase of the delicious 
Massachusetts fruit. But Varnum Frost said he believed " so 
much science had got into agriculture that it was extremely 
difficult to raise anything. When he was a boy, peach trees were 
as healthy as forest trees; and he thought so many chemicals had 
been introduced into the soil that it was upset and discouraged." 
But the yellows did not, as we remember, appear in the eastern 
part of the States until well into the fifties, though they had ap- 
peared near Philadelphia in 1800. The last talk of the series was 
by Professor H. T. Fernald of Amherst, upon injurious insects; 
but Mr. Frost was undaunted by titles. He thought the experiment 
stations cost a good deal of money, and wondered whether during 
the last century any insect had really ever put the supply of crops 
below the demand. For his part, he regarded insects as beneficial: 
they stirred up cultivators to attend to their crops. Professor 
Fernald, perhaps not familiar with Mr. Frost's views, replied that 
this might be true, but that insects were not an unmixed benefit. 
The lectures of the year were now over; and it is not surprising 
that no other course was ever listened to more attentively or 
attended more numerously. An abstract of each was printed in 
the Transcript on the day of its delivery. 

In President Hadwen's address on the fourth of January, 1902, 
we detect the anxious note of the previous year. The good President 
saw approaching the most important epoch in the Society's history, 
and pleaded once more " not only for unanimity to adapt ourselves 


to our situation, but for determination to overcome all prejudice 
that might exist, and to work with a will to reinstate the good 
old prosperous years." But had the prosperous years ever failed? 
No evidence of it was seen at the exhibitions; and when matters 
are viewed in the proper perspective of time, it seems evident 
that quarrels and irritations, many of them due to trivial causes, 
appeared too large as compared with the commanding momentum 
of the Society's traditions. One of the most capable and dis- 
interested members said, " The Society needs a day of activity; 
it needs to study the movements of the day, the influences growing 
out of . . . the work of other societies having objects similar 
to its own — then to study its own work to see if it is gaining or 
losing power and influence. If it is losing, then the control of its 
wealth is likely to come into the hands of a few able, shrewd, 
selfish men who will establish a mutual admiration society with 
occasional banquets and just enough work to keep other mem- 
bers quiet. If it is gaining it will take up new and living issues 
that will interest every member and make active workers of a 
majority and benefit the public at large. ... It will reach out 
both hands in good fellowship to other local societies having 
closely allied objects in view, cooperate with them, and aid them 
in their own work, and at the same time add to the interest of its 
own exhibits as it has done through its connection with the Boston 
Mycological Club. It will not compete, even remotely, with the 
work of other societies, as it is doing in its exhibits of wild flowers, 
or duplicate work that comes directly within the field of, and is 
being done by, another society, as it is in its Forestry Committee. 
It will continue to cooperate with other societies in the care, 
acquirement and safe-guarding of public reservations, or in the 
preservation of notable landscape objects as it has done with the 
Forestry Society in connection with the Greylock Reservation. 
It will continue to extend a welcoming hand to visiting national 
associations. . . . Active, aggressive work and cordial sympa- 
thetic cooperation with others will place the Society on a still 
higher plane than it has been on in the past, and bring correspond- 
ingly greater results." 4 These seem like prophetic words; and by 
their clearness and frankness they did much to neutralize the 

4 Transactions, 1902. March 8. 


dangers they warned against. But 1902 was to be a year of experi- 
ment and experience, and misunderstandings could not be ironed 
out at once. 

The building was not ready for the lectures in January, 1902, 
and the series began in Chickering Hall. The first one, by A. H. 
Kirkland, was a general dissertation upon that arch-pest, the 
brown-tail moth, which had been traced in 1897 to the sno P of 
a Somerville florist who had for many years been importing roses 
from Holland and France, where it was a common enemy. State 
work against it began the next year; but this ceased in 1900, and 
now the insect, which not only had a very broad food range, but 
caused an intense mechanical irritation whenever it touched 
human flesh, was spreading through the Metropolitan district. 
In this country it of course had no parasitic enemy; and though 
the English sparrow ate it, the bird's ability was not large enough 
to cover its own multitude of sins. The Horticultural Possibilities 
of New England Farms was the Discussion Committee's contribu- 
tion to a subject now receiving widespread investigation; and 
reduced to its lowest terms, the conclusion was that only modern 
equipment, knowledge, and some executive ability in marketing 
could win. The Business End of Horticulture followed this lecture, 
and was analagous to it in its discussion of floriculture; but in 
each case Varnum Frost alone was unconvinced, and offered to 
teach anybody in five minutes how to grow lettuce. A man born 
with nature's gifts, he said, did not have to go to Amherst: he 
learned from observation, and needed only common sense and a 
tenacious will. W. W. Rawson felt differently, and said he wished 
there had been an agricultural college in his time. Some inquiries 
were made of Mr. Rawson about the new use of electric light in 
horticulture. In February, Professor G. E. Stone of Amherst 
brought new information upon the methods and results of soil 
sterilization; and the Russell Lecture on the fungous diseases of 
fruits brought nothing but discouragement about the peach yel- 
lows: Professor M. B. Waite, from the Department of Agriculture, 
reported that it had " utterly eluded all efforts of scientific men." 
Almost as hopeless, as far as horticulture was concerned, was 
W. H. Manning's estimate of the influence of American expositions 
on the out-door arts, which reminds one of a certain humorist's 


remark that the benefit an exposition conferred on a city was the 
removal of all obligation to have another. Yet to the nation as a 
whole Mr. Manning believed them valuable, especially if they 
could be held under government auspices at Washington; the 
laying out of grounds could be a valuable object lesson. Next 
came a talk upon the evolution of vegetable culture during the 
last forty years, by Warren W. Rawson, of Arlington, in which 
he pointed out the great progressive development due to scientific 
knowledge, and again spoke favorably about the use of electricity. 
But again Mr. Frost could not agree: plants needed rest; elec- 
tricity gave light without warmth — and it was high temperature 
which made plants grow; and if electricity was so beneficial, why 
did not the grass around street lights show results? One wonders 
if President Burrage could have convinced him of the value of 
light! Next came Birds and Insects in their Relation to Agricul- 
ture, with an informing explanation by E. H. Forbush of the 
value of birds in keeping down harmful insects. The last lecture 
of the season, Some Famous Gardens of the World, was a vivid, 
pleasant talk delivered under the auspices of the Massachusetts 
Board of Agriculture, by Miss Helena T. Goessmann. 

One of the little adjustments that in their total drew so heavily 
on the nervous system of the Society was that made necessary 
by the distance of the new Hall from the business section, and 
the consequent irregularity in attendance at committee meetings, 
and changes by resignation. But there was no falling-off in the 
exhibitions, and the year was notable for new introductions. The 
most remarkable by far was Nephrolepis Piersoni, valuable com- 
mercially as it was interesting botanically. For it F. R. Pierson 
and Company, of Tarrytown, received the gold medal. In May 
the Farquhars showed their new rambler rose, a hybrid raised by 
Jackson Dawson, and a cross between Rosa Wichuraiana and 
the Crimson Rambler. In July came the Dorothy Perkins, from 
A. T. Story, three new orchids, and four new plants, the most 
important of the last being the hybrid Richardia, from the 
Tailbys. A seedling hydrangea, the Superba, was the only instance 
the Committee knew of in which one of this class had been raised 
from the seed, and moreover this one was the result of hand 
fertilization. In late August E. V. R. Thayer showed an interesting 


exhibit of American raised seedling orchids; and for this and 
other surpassingly fine collections during the past few years his 
gardener, E. O. Orpet, was granted the Society's gold medal. At 
the annual exhibition in September the rise of that group of orchid 
experts which was to obtain such marvellous results later was 
presaged by four new orchids, and by the presence of the rare 
Cypripedium Sanderianum. " At various times during the year," 
said the Committee, "plants have been exhibited which have 
shown unusual skill in their cultivation, and although exhibited 
under the names of the owners, we considered the cultural excel- 
lence due to the gardeners who grew them, and have recognized 
their skill by making cultural awards to them." An excellent 
example of this was the awarding of the silver medal to William 
McAllister, gardener to Mrs. John C. Whitin, for a magnificent 
basket of Dendrobium nobile at the spring show; and there were 
four other cases of this very significant innovation. At the annual 
show came the most extensive display of crotons ever attempted 
at the Hall, more than fifty varieties, and many of them new; 
and another interesting exhibit was one of miniature gardens and 
dwarfed Japanese trees from the Yamanaka Company, the dwarf- 
ing process being illustrated by a series of trees ranging from the 
little one-year-old specimens to comparatively immense ones of 
great age. The chrysanthemum show was at least as good as any 
of the splendid series during the last decade ; elastic as the stand- 
ard had proved, J. S. Bailey and Mrs. B. P. Cheney showed plants 
which seemed to represent the uttermost possibility. Finally, Peter 
Fisher entered for the prospective seedling flowering plant prize 
his carnation, Mrs. Thomas W. Lawson, which had been under 
the Committee's observation for several years, and was considered 
a most distinct " break " in a flower which was advancing more 
rapidly than any other at the time. At the same show the new 
seedling rambler rose, Miss Simplicity, was exhibited. The rose 
show itself was a vast improvement over those of the past two 
years; and Japanese irises, dahlias, gladioli and aquatics quite 
held their own as usual. 

In fruits, the year 1902 yielded evenly except in pears, which 
were diminished by cold, wet weather when the trees were in bloom. 
There was a tendency to reduce the number of varieties. Peaches 


and plums, usually the despair of the cultivators, did well when 
treated with proper care; the latter were largely of the Japanese 
varieties, which at the exhibitions had taken the places of the old 
Reine Claude de Bavay, Green Gage and McLaughlin. Cold 
storage and an increasing English demand took care of the extra 
apples. The worst news of the year was the continued increase in 
insect enemies. Vegetable exhibits were unusually good after a 
very favorable season, the number of exhibitors being sixty as 
against forty of the year before. Enough celery was exhibited at 
the November show to extend entirely around the small hall. An 
excellent potato, Simmons' Model, received a first-class certificate 
of merit in October. 

More than the usual round of vegetable and flower houses and 
farms was made in 1902 by the Garden Committee. In both June 
and October, Charles H. Tenney's summer place, Greycourt, was 
visited, and was awarded the Hunnewell triennial premium. The 
unfolding trees, and the fresh new growth of the shrubs, 
trees and conifers — especially the blue spruces — were beautiful 
in the spring, but the visitors conceded them to be more so in the 
autumn, and President Hadwen called it the " noblest place in 
the Commonwealth." Miss E. G. Clark's estate, La Plaisance, at 
Pomfret, Connecticut, and the Whitin estate at Whitinsville we 
have already visited; but the Committee on this occasion found 
at the latter a fruit house, built in 1900, containing the most 
splendid collection of fruits they had ever seen. Some of the 
peaches were three inches in diameter. The Rogers estate at Fair- 
haven was qualifying well, in its second year, for the triennial 
premium. In August a visit was made to E. G. Mitton's croton 
house in Brookline, — a new experience for the Committee, for 
the plants were of course cultivated entirely for their foliage. 
There were eighty of them, in five varieties, and their house 
looked as though it were filled with endless varieties of flowering 
plants, though there was not one in it. The school gardens were 
flourishing and spreading, and the Secretary of the Society had 
more calls for Mr. Clapp's reports than for all other reports com- 
bined. But Mr. Clapp was beginning to think of summer or 
vacation school gardens, which involved more than horticulture, 
and perhaps for this reason his hints for a larger appropriation 


were unproductive. The Massachusetts Civic League had procured 
on Columbus Avenue an area for swings, tilts, sand-piles, ladders, 
tennis, croquet and other games, with beds in which three hundred 
and fifty young gardeners worked. In the exhibition of children's 
herbariums, Miss Dorothy Metcalf's and Miss Dorothea Clapp's 
collections were so good that the Committee bought a number of 
their specimens as the nucleus of a botanical collection to be put 
in the herbarium room for ready reference. Fifty-four mosses 
correctly named were shown by Miss Christine D. Clapp, and 
Miss Olive French exhibited a collection of lycopodiums. Mr. 
Clapp said that the children of the Ira Allen Primary School 
looked for every different species that grew in an adjoining field, 
and observed that this was Darwin's way of working. 

One more activity of the year must be noticed, the work for 
forestry and roadside improvement. This consisted of the collect- 
ing, collating and tabulating of information on such matters as 
the condition of trees, the soils, diseases and pests, tree-guards, 
effects of electric wires, gas and pavements, placards, noteworthy 
individual trees, real estate values, Arbor Day, work in the schools, 
and the different town by-laws. The value to the Society of co- 
operation with the Forestry Association of course became espe- 
cially evident when some cause was supported at the State House 
by both. Another pleasant evidence of cooperation was the 
celebration in the Society's halls on the twenty-second of July of 
the semi-centennial of the State Board of Agriculture. President 
Hadwen represented the Society at a large gathering of governors 
of the Board and other representative men, and the exercises 
closed with a collation in the smaller hall. 

The use of the Library since it had reached its new quarters 
faithfully registered the interests which the expositions and the 
lectures of the past year proved: the use of books for special 
study and reference was increased, and inquiries on botanical 
and horticultural subjects came from all over the country. Many 
very valuable new books had been acquired, among them the 
completion at last of Pierre's Flore Forestiere de la Cochinchine ; 
Cesati, Passerini and Gibelli's Compendio della Flora Italiana; 
the final volumes of Professor Sargent's Silva of North America; 
the fourth and last volume of Professor Bailey's Cyclopaedia of 


American Horticulture; and a collection of books from the library 
of the late James F. C. Hyde, presented by Mrs. Hyde. William 
E. Endicott, who for twenty-three years had been Chairman of 
the Library Committee, and was exceptionally qualified both by 
natural endowments and education to serve as such, now resigned, 
and by his retirement the Library lost one of the keenest judg- 
ments that had ever served in selecting the books which should 
maintain its high rank. 

But another loss which fell as heavily on the whole Society as 
on the Library was the death of Robert Manning. In speaking of 
the semi-centennial History, published in 1880, we have already 
noted the quality and extent of his devoted services; and until 
his death on the seventeenth of February, 1902, they continued 
unabated and unimpaired. Too modest to understand his own 
value, too conscientious in the midst of various interests to allow 
his excessive burden of work to become apparent, he served the 
Society for fifty-four years, longer than any other man had done, 
and at his death was the most prominent personage in the Society, 
not only in the minds of the members, but in the respect of all 
pomologists in the country. He had been since 1876 continuously 
the Secretary, the Librarian, and the Editor of the Transactions, 
and to all his multitudinous duties he brought the same fidelity, 
accuracy, dignity and intelligence that characterized his work 
as Historian. 

He was born on July the sixth, 1827, and lived all his life in 
Salem: it is related that before he could pronounce the Society's 
long name, when a new variety from his father's pomological 
garden was being discussed at the family table, he would say, 
" Take it to the horticultural exhibition." As a boy he was re- 
served, quiet, studious, fond of walking, ingenious in mechanical 
work, and high-minded like his famous cousin, Nathaniel Haw- 
thorne. His fluent, correct style of writing came from a distinct 
literary taste, especially for history, biography and poetry: he 
could in later years repeat by heart The Lady of the Lake, and 
most of The Lay of the Last Minstrel and Marmion. At his 
father's death he and his brother Richard took up the pomological 
garden, and for nearly sixty years more the name of Robert 
Manning was familiar in the Society's records. His first exhibit 


of fruit was on September the thirteenth, 1843, — apples, pears, 
peaches and plums in great variety. Thereafter he exhibited 
constantly, occasionally going with his friend Marshall P. Wilder 
to a convention of the American Pomological Society, of which he 
attended the first meeting in 1849, when he was put on the com- 
mittee to prepare a list of fruits for general cultivation. From 
1869 to 187 1, when its publication ceased, he was Editor of 
Tilton's Journal of Horticulture, to which he often contributed 
articles on fruits and plants. The rest of his work is known to us; 
but one of his characteristics is not, for his dignity, clothed in 
the fashion of his day, 5 would not let it appear in his work: a 
keen appreciation of the humorous side of life. The great Library 
of the Society, to which his father had contributed its first 
volumes, found in him a learned and jealous custodian, for though 
his special interest was pomology, he was well versed in the other 
departments of horticulture. In pomology he won three silver 
and two bronze medals from different societies, one of the latter 
at the Paris Exposition in 1900. He never married, but lived with 
his sisters in Salem, and devoted his leisure hours to his garden and 
trees. He died at the age of seventy-four years and seven months, 
in the house where he was born. 

No less heavy was the loss, three months later, of Horatio 
Hollis Hunnewell, a man to whom the Society likewise owes an 
incalculable debt, and whose portrait hangs with those of the 
Presidents. Great as his benefactions were to the Society, they 
were only of a piece with those which in his long life of nearly 
ninety-two years he conferred on every worthy cause that reached 
his ear, particularly in his own town, Wellesley. He was born in 
Watertown on the twenty-seventh of July, 18 10, was educated 
there and in France, and received the degree of Master of Arts 
from Harvard in 1893. He married Isabelle Pratt Welles, daughter 
of the Honorable John Welles of Boston, and established the 
business house which bore his name. Until he was forty years old 
he never manifested any taste for arboriculture and horticulture, 
in which he afterwards became so proficient; but his father-in-law 

5 He always wrote in the Transactions that " a meeting was holden on such and 
such a date, and he always chose to spell peony paeony. In the obituary notices he 
avoided the use of the word death. 



was much interested in farming, and was one of the earliest mem- 
bers of the Society, to which he was a subscriber before its or- 
ganization. He died on the twentieth of May, 1902. A history of 
the Society renders an account of his benefactions to it super- 
fluous, for they are woven into its fabric; yet his personal ser- 
vices and the testimony of his associates to his ability and 
character make it evident that material things were not the 
greatest of the gifts he bestowed. 6 He was preeminently one of 
those who give themselves. 

As though to deal an even shock to the foundations upon which 
the Society rests four square, death also removed James Comley, 
the skilful, genial, beloved gardener, and Daniel T. Curtis, a com- 
mitteeman, exhibitor and seedsman, " most genial of men, un- 
selfish to a fault." James Comley was born in Derry Hill, England, 
on the twenty-ninth of May, 1835; learned gardening at the 
Marquis of Lansdowne's establishment, and after coming to 
America became a flower merchant and decorator. Becoming 
acquainted with Francis B. Hayes in 1870, he entered his employ 
and thereafter constantly exhibited at the Society's halls, winning 
credit especially for some fine seedling roses and rhododendrons. 
His last exhibit before his death on the first of February, 1902, 
was at the preceding chrysanthemum show, when he was awarded 
a silver medal. Daniel T. Curtis, in his eighty-eighth year at his 
death on the twenty-sixth of July, 1902, had been an active mem- 
ber for thirty years after his membership began in 1849. A con- 
stant contributor, he was associated with the Fruits, Arrangements 
and Library Committees until 1878, and was universally beloved 
and esteemed. 

The limited income of $3905 from the building in the year 
1902 — for the halls were not in so desirable a location as for- 
merly for general purposes, and there were no stores to rent — 
helped to bring a diminution in appropriations for prizes for 1903. 
Gradually the figure had worked up to $8075, but now a reduction 
to $6050 had to be made. Several gifts were received, among 
them eight hundred dollars as a bequest from Benjamin H. Pierce, 

6 "When he left Wellesley for his winter home in Boston," says Benjamin C. 
Clark, " he used to say to the town clerk, ' Be sure and do not allow anyone to 
suffer during cold weather; send them whatever they need and I will pay the bill.' " 


of Watertown, the income to be used for the introduction of new 
fruits; but it was evident, as it had been for some time, that 
steps for a more comprehensive view and administration of the 
Society's affairs were inevitable; and at the annual meeting on 
the third of January, 1903, President Hadwen's address was 
deferred, and the time devoted to the reading of a proposed new 
code of by-laws for the Society. An attempt to adopt a new 
constitution and by-laws had been defeated on the fifth of 
April, 1902, by a vote of two hundred and four in favor to a 
hundred and forty-three against, — for a two-thirds vote was 
necessary; but in July William H. Spooner moved the appoint- 
ment by the President of a committee of seven members to revise 
and amend them, in order, as he said, the better to order and 
transact the Society's business affairs, and to harmonize the con- 
flicting views of the members. This plan was unanimously adopted, 
and the following elected to the committee: Henry P. Walcott, 
Warren W. Rawson, John K. M. L. Farquhar, Edwin H. Jose, 
C. Minot Weld, Richard M. Saltonstall, and William H. Spooner. 
The principal change was the establishment of a board of 
trustees; but it was incidentally decided that the Charter re- 
quired the election by the Society at large of the Treasurer and 
the Secretary, instead of their appointment by the Executive 
Committee, which had hitherto been the practice. But the new 
Constitution could not go into effect before 1904, and we shall 
wait until then to analyze its effects. 

Miss Mary E. Cutler's talk in January on Remunerative Out- 
door Occupations for Women of course brought to the Hall a large 
number of her sex. Describing the tremendous extension of 
women's work during the last half-century, she recommended 
especially glass farming; it needed "careful advance calculation, 
a matter in which women excel "; the labor was fairly light; and 
there was " room for much artistic taste and discrimination, 
certainly woman's specialties." An animated discussion followed 
as to opportunities, ways and means, and Benjamin P. Ware 
finally observed that he hoped so many women wouldn't go in 
as to drive out the few remaining men. Professor F. A. Waugh, 
of Amherst, lectured on systematic pomology, and complained 
that the discussions of late had been too much about handling 


and selling fruit, and not enough about descriptions, nomen- 
clature and classifications. He advocated a comprehensive formula 
for the first; declared that pomology had long been at a standstill 
in regard to nomenclature, and presented a code lately drawn up; 
and described the methods of classification. He concluded by 
asking his hearers to draw up from their exhibitions a suitable 
file of descriptions for reference, — a task which Thomas Harri- 
son and President Hadwen thought practically impossible, for, 
as the latter said, different kinds of Baldwin apples grow on the 
same tree! The next lecture was What the Department of Agri- 
culture is Doing for the Farmer, by Professor C. S. Walker, of 
Amherst, — a beautifully clear account of the work done, men 
employed, and money spent upon investigations which the farmer 
could not afford for himself, on the questions of soil, plant dis- 
ease, farm management, entomology, chemistry, forestry, weather, 
statistics and many others. The lecture was astonishing in its 
facts, and logically perfect in its presentation. As J. W. Stockwell 
said a month later, the only trouble was that the scientific progress 
which it so admirably outlined was not well enough known by 
farmers. It was followed by a lively discussion, in which the 
practical value of the agricultural college and of modern scientific 
methods of cultivation was the battlefield, and Benjamin P. Ware 
and Varnum Frost the principal antagonists. The former praised 
the splendid attempt by the Department to help struggling 
farmers; but Mr. Frost could not see its value. It was spending 
five million dollars a year and supporting four thousand em- 
ployees, who got the benefit while the farmer grew poorer and 
poorer. He repeated his former statement, that scientific knowl- 
edge was not necessary: running a farm was a simple business, 
and could be learned from experience and observation. It was in 
vain that Mr. Ware explained how the money came back in 
improved agriculture, leaving the farmer educated to his work 
as all workers now had to be, or for Michael Sullivan to adduce 
the value of the government work in the west; Mr. Frost believed 
farming the tag end of all business, and saw no help from science 
for the discouraging conditions. The dispute was a kindly one, 
and serves definitely to illustrate the difficulties of the Depart- 
ment, the value of the discussions, and the fraternal spirit in 


which they were held. It was resumed two weeks later after a 
lecture by F. C. Richards on The Apple as a Money Crop for 
New England. He saw great possibilities if the cultivator was 
well informed, and in earnest. He was prepared for Mr. Frost, 
and stated before discussion began that success without books 
and the knowledge acquired by others was a thing of the past; 
but he prepared trouble for himself by limiting his recommenda- 
tion of orcharding to the section east of Worcester, a qualification 
which a year later was remembered and objected to by A. D. 
Hixon, 7 of the Worcester County Horticultural Society. The fol- 
lowing week came the third part of the trilogy, Demands of Agri- 
culture in the Present Century, by the Honorable J. W. Stockwell. 
After drawing from memory a picture not unlike that in Whittier's 
Snow Bound of the farm of fifty years before, he traced the de- 
velopment along the lines followed by the preceding lecturers, and 
arrived at their conclusions, that education and intensive cultiva- 
tion, plus business methods, alone could bring success. Mr. Frost 
once more denied the premises, and one sympathizes heartily with 
the difficulties encountered by a capable elderly farmer in a 
changing world. The Russell Foundation lecture was the last of 
the series, and its title — Diseases of the Potato in Relation to 
Its Development — suggests how much had been covered of the 
general field for which the bequest was made. 

Contrasting with the phenomenally large number of new in- 
troductions in 1902, the plants of 1903, though of excellent 
quality, were little out of the ordinary. In March Henry A. Dreer, 
Inc., sent their new golden Pandanus Sanderi, which, if not more 
beautiful, seemed stronger in habit than the old Pandanus 
Veitchii. Another promising seedling rambler rose, Minnehaha, 
was shown, and some fine orchids, notably J. E. RothwelPs 
Laelio-Cattleya, Bowring-Clive. Farquhar's new rose justified 
the high award it had received in 1902, and the Yamanaka Com- 
pany again displayed dwarfed trees and miniature gardens. After 
several years of absence, nepenthes appeared again, from the 
Botanic Garden. At most of the large exhibitions the Society was 
indebted to the Farquhars, who sent large bays, palms, and other 

7 Mr. Hixon's lecture was along the same lines. He tells us that within ten days 
he received fifty-eight letters on the subject. 


plants for decorating the halls. The heat and drought in the early 
part of the season, followed by cold rains, affected the flowers 
variously; Miss Sarah B. Fay's roses alone kept the rose show 
from utter failure; orchids and carnations were well grown; 
tulips were mediocre; and narcissi were not shown at all. There 
were two new rambler roses in July. In August and September 
came dahlias in profusion, the cactus type still leading in popular 
favor, Walter P. Winsor's specimens being the best ever shown in 
the halls. The chrysanthemum show indicated an interest in large 
specimen plants, and the only adverse criticism was sameness, a 
lack of variety. But the Flower Committee observed that after 
straining their necks for some time in looking at the giants with 
their several feet of stem, it was a relief to look down on E. S. 
Converse's beautiful Pompoms. A reaction was evidently setting 
in towards the more delicate Anemone and Pompom types. 

For some reason not specified, the exclusive exhibition of fruits 
and vegetables in October, which had evidently commended itself, 
was merged this year with the annual exhibition, — though it was 
destined to be separated again three years later. Unfavorable 
weather damaged all fruits in 1903, apples least of all, and 
peaches, strawberries and cherries most. William H. Munroe 
exhibited a large, handsome berry called Commonwealth; and 
Mrs. A. E. Monblo the India raspberry, or strawberry raspberry 
as it was usually catalogued, — a brilliant scarlet fruit of large 
size, with glossy green foliage, which the Garden Committee 
thought should be crossed with the Cuthbert raspberry, that it 
might gain in flavor. There were no notable new fruits during 
the year. New varieties of vegetables appeared, but the existing 
sorts were hard to improve upon. The prominent feature of the 
year was the large exhibitions of lettuce from the great green- 
houses, now approaching perfection in their results ; but many of 
the prizes were taken from the Boston men by the Bristol County 

The Garden Committee interspersed among its inspections of 
cucumber and chrysanthemum houses and strawberry, vegetable, 
India raspberry and dahlia gardens, a few visits to estates, no- 
tably those of Mrs. A. W. Blake at Kernwood, Miss E. J. Clark at 
Pomfret, and H. H. Rogers at Fairhaven, the last of which this 


year received the Hunnewell triennial premium, with special com- 
mendation to James Garthley, the gardener. John Ash, the manager 
of Miss E. J. Clark's estate, sent in a report of his methods in 
cultivating the great variety of peaches, pears, plums, apples, 
nectarines, figs and other fruits in the orchard house, and many 
excellent half-tones of this and other places were printed in the 
Transactions, — a great improvement usually on verbal descrip- 
tion. A visit was paid in June to the fifty acres presented to 
Worcester for a park by President Hadwen. They were mostly 
covered with a magnificent growth of oak, chestnut, pine and 
other forest trees, and in ridges and valleys were well adapted 
to park purposes. E. S. Converse's chrysanthemum house showed 
five hundred plants, embracing a hundred and seventy varieties, 
all trained to one stem and flower, and was beautiful beyond 

Henry L. Clapp, in 1903, went deeper into the sociological 
significance of school gardening than ever before. The work being 
done led back to the soil, tended to solve the problem of conges- 
tion, and checked undue concentration in the cities. Boston was 
not only the hub of the solar system, but had been found by the 
superintendent of the Washington Insane Hospital to be the 
centre of insanity as well as of pauperism in the United States. 
Painting a somewhat gloomy picture of the grafters, plumbers, 
church workers and benevolent old ladies, he said that the schools 
should lead out into the country, where there was room, light, air 
and sweetness. And since thirty members of the Society had died 
in 1903, it seemed that recruits should be looked for. In a report 
covering about thirty pages, Mr. Clapp went on to describe half a 
dozen school gardens, and to plead that the school authorities 
should take hold, instead of leaving the work to philanthropic 
individuals and associations. Did they regard the new movement 
as a fad? The old system of merely knowing was giving place 
to the new one of doing; and when at a meeting in July of the 
National Education Association Mr. Clapp, at President C. W 
Eliot's request, described the happy and successful garden work 
at the Putnam School, President Eliot said, " That, ladies and 
gentlemen, is the entire philosophy of the new education." There 
were eleven hundred specimens at the exhibition of children's 


herbariums in November, more than twice the last amount, — for 
every accepted specimen was sure of a money prize; and the 
sixty-three different kinds of mosses and a smaller number of 
lichens from Christine and Dorothea Clapp would have done 
credit to professional collectors. 

Among the thirty deaths referred to by Mr. Clapp was that of 
an interesting member, Mrs. Henrietta L. T. Wolcott, whose 
work in the establishment of window gardening in 1874 we have 
described. In 1894, when a new direction was given to the work 
of interesting children in plant life, she served on the Committee 
on School Gardens, and was a member of it until her death on 
the eighth of October, 1903. We have seen that she was a positive, 
militant personality, intolerant of calumny, impatient with what- 
ever seemed to her unappreciative, hard-hearted or over-commer- 
cial in the Society's tendencies; but it should be added that the 
whole of her life was a charitable mission, especially for destitute 
girls, wherein her work was inestimable. In her work within the 
Society's field she overcame all inertia; and if she fought hard 
and sharply, she was so palpably in earnest that she left no 
animosity in the hearts of her fellow-members. In daily life she 
was entertaining and cheerful; and her loyalty to her cause en- 
titles her to be considered one of the pioneers in the school garden 
movement in America. 

Of William Ellis Endicott, who died on the third of June, we 
have heard much in following the progress of the Library from 
the beginning of his chairmanship in 1879 until his resignation 
in 1902. He was fitted for his task not only by a practical and 
scientific knowledge of botany and horticulture, a familiarity with 
foreign languages, and marked literary taste, but by a sound 
humor, tact and practical common sense which enabled him with 
the help of the ever-faithful Manning to tolerate the exasperating 
difficulties under which the " brain of the institution " labored 
for so many years. He was also a frequent exhibitor of bulbous 
and tuberous rooted plants from the collection in his greenhouse 
at Canton. To him was largely due the wise expenditure of the 
Stickney Fund interest and the success in obtaining both here and 
abroad many of the most valuable books in the Society's collection. 

Before leaving the year 1903 we may record two or three items 


of interest: the gift from Mrs. Robert M. Bailey, grand-daughter 
of General H. A. S. Dearborn, of the manuscript of the address 
delivered by General Dearborn at the " first anniversary " of the 
Society on the nineteenth of September, 1829; the vote of a 
suitably inscribed medal to the family of Joshua T. Foster, who 
introduced the Foster peach; and a gift from the family of 
Robert Manning of many books and pamphlets, among which 
were numbers of serial publications and reports needed to com- 
plete the Library's sets. Financial matters were not encouraging: 
only $2238 came from the halls, $5011.70 from Mount Auburn, 
and $494.94 from the exhibitions. The membership was now 868. 
It was the growth in membership and the hope of a better applica- 
tion of its resources that made the new Constitution advisable. 


Chapter XVIII ■ 1 904-1 906. ADJUSTMENT 

SINCE 1835 the Constitution had been revised and modified 
in details, but not altered in its essential provisions; and 
the passing of the management into the hands of a Board 
of Trustees therefore brought back a resemblance to the original 
Constitution of 1829. On the fourteenth of November, 1903, the 
first election under the new laws was held, and Dr. Henry P. 
Walcott, who had occupied the presidency from 1886 to 1890, 
was now recalled to it. Two vice-presidents were elected, Walter 
Hunnewell for two years, and Warren W. Rawson for one; 
and four trustees for three years, four for two, and four for 

The new code had obvious advantages. It offered at annual 
elections for the important offices a number of candidates suffi- 
ciently limited to enable members to use a just discrimination in 
their choice, but not so limited that the Society could not in a 
reasonable period effect any desirable changes in the organization 
of the governing body, or in the committees appointed. Every 
interest of the Society was ably and fairly represented on the 
Board; any five members of it, fifteen members acting together, 
or the President, could bring about a meeting; and thus it was 
inconceivable that the members could not be brought together 
when necessary. President Walcott found nothing for adverse 
criticism in his review of the year on the second of January, 1904; 
President Hadwen's administration during the somewhat stormy 
period of his three-year tenure of office had been wise, tolerant 
and tactful. Differences of opinion had to exist in the matter of 
awarding prizes as long as the public called for one thing and 
people of refined £aste another, and there was always the oppor- 
tunity for the latter to educate the former. Dr. Walcott took 
occasion to repeat two recommendations which he had made 
during his first administration: to have a room always ready for 
the exhibition of any plant, flower, fruit or vegetable of new or 


superior quality, and to procure experts in particular classes ; and 
he now urged the necessity of increasing the membership. 

On New Year's Day, 1904, the Board of Trustees was duly 
organized. The committees were composed of three members for 
finance, six for prizes and exhibitions, seven for plants and 
flowers, five for fruits, five for vegetables, eight for gardens, five 
for the Library, five for lectures and publications, and seven for 
school gardens. Experience since 1891 had shown that although 
separate committees for plants and flowers expedited the judging 
in the increasing number of exhibits, a lack of uniformity and 
confusion in making awards resulted; and this year one com- 
mittee for both plants and flowers was reestablished. As to the 
offices of treasurer and secretary, they had been elective in the 
earlier years; but from 1876 to 1903, by a doubtful interpretation 
of the Charter, they were filled by appointment of the executive 
management. The latter method having been declared by eminent 
counsel contrary to the requirements of the Charter, it was neces- 
sary in framing the by-laws of 1904 to return to the old usage 
until the Charter could be so amended as to provide for the 
appointment of the treasurer and the secretary. 

A glance at some of the proceedings of the Trustees at their 
eleven meetings in 1904 will be the best means of understanding 
their function and their immediate field, aside from financial mat- 
ters. At the first meeting the January and February and the Sep- 
tember and October exhibitions were consolidated ; certain prizes 
for things unimportant or obsolete were cut out; the restoration 
of the Lowell and the Appleton medals was made, the former to 
be awarded only by the Fruit and the Vegetable Committees, and 
the latter only by the Plant and Flower Committee; and the 
decision was made, on the suggestion of J. K. M. L. Farquhar, 
to put some competent person in charge of the arrangement of 
the various exhibitions. Certain minor alterations or improvements 
in the building, such as wider shelving in some parts of the 
Library, and electric lamps at the main entrance to the Hall; 
salaries and refreshments for committees; and invitations to cer- 
tain flower societies and associations to use the halls for their 
exhibitions, were also matters handled at the meetings. 

One of the most pressing of all was what steps should be taken 


against the brown tail and gypsy moths and the San Jose scale. 
Mr. Spooner's motion that the Society should hold a public 
demonstration in some suitable place of an approved method for 
their destruction was favorably acted upon by the Garden Com- 
mittee, to which it was referred; and on the afternoon of the fifth 
of November a field meeting was held at Arlington, where nu- 
merous appliances were shown and explained by well qualified 
demonstrators to a large attendance of interested persons, includ- 
ing tree wardens from many towns. The first discussion meeting 
of the year was upon the subject of the gypsy moth and its 
ravages, and was delivered by J. K. M. L. Farquhar, with stereop- 
ticon illustrations. Now, thirty years after its introduction, the 
moth was threatening the country, for there had been no diminu- 
tion of its destructive energy, and its enemies and parasites were 
not numerous enough to check its progress. Congress had just 
appropriated a quarter of a million dollars to suppress the cotton 
boll weevil, but refused to do the same for the moth; and Massa- 
chusetts was in the same position that the poor Frenchman 
Trouvelot was after his silkworm-raising experiment. He tried 
to exterminate the moths, but, unable to do so, he gave the public 
warning; and it was the state's duty to do the same. About a 
million dollars had been spent, but that had not sufficed; and now 
it seemed necessary to send an entomologist abroad to get para- 
sites and to experiment. There was a well qualified man in 
Alameda, California, Albert Koebele, who had offered to do the 
whole work in four years for sixty thousand dollars, said James 
H. Bowditch. 1 Mr. Farquhar's address was a loud and alarming 
call; and the Society again raised its voice for energetic action, 
as it had done in 1890, this time by voting approval of the Forestry 
Association's efforts to introduce natural parasites to destroy the 
gypsy and the brown tail moths. 

Practical Nature Study for the Public Schools was the title of 
Mrs. Cora C. Stuart Jones's lecture on the thirtieth of January, 
and its purpose was to explain from a horticultural viewpoint 
that change in educational methods which distinguished the end 
of the last century — " knowledge in use, the active method as 

1 It is interesting to note that Varnum Frost thought the account of the moth's 
depredations had been largely overdrawn. 


opposed to the passive." The subject had taken a strong hold on 
many people, as we have seen in the case of Mr. H. C. Clapp, 
who now reported that his pupils worked more interestedly, 
vigorously, spontaneously and successfully in studying natural 
subjects than in anything else; and we hardly need to comment 
upon it at the present day. In February came a lecture on orchids 
and their culture, by William N. Craig, in which he dispelled 
some of the popular fallacies, such as the excessive difficulty and 
the prohibitive cost of growing them. The first seedling orchid, 
sent by the Veitches, astonished the Royal Horticultural Society 
in i860; and ten years later about twenty-five hundred species 
were listed. Now there were about three times that number; 
cattleyas were the most popular here, while in Europe odonto- 
glossums, the most beautiful of all, were far in the lead, on account 
of the difference in climate. Though orchids, however bewitch- 
ing to flower lovers, can never be the flower of the masses, Mr. 
Craig prophesied that in ten years more the number of growers 
would be quadrupled. The Study of Parasitic Fungi and the Pro- 
tection of Native Plants, like the lecture on the gypsy moth, indi- 
cate that the horticultural studies of the year were more than 
usually on defensive lines ; but in March came a lecture by Arthur 
Cowee on the gladiolus, and one on the peony by George C. 
Watson in April. When W. N. Craig had failed to find out from 
the lecturer — who was a professional grower — what the best 
kind of fertilizer was for gladiolus bulbs, he asked how to pro- 
nounce the name of the flower, and was told that Webster said 
gladi'olus, he himself gladio'lus, and Groff — the most successful 
hybridist — gladiolus! Mr. Watson was an amateur peony en- 
thusiast, and paid a tribute to John Richardson and his deep 
crimson variety Rubra Superba. Dr. Horatio C. Meriam, of 
Salem, added that Richardson's work on peonies was by far the 
most valuable done in America; he had produced some varieties 
unsurpassed by any in the world; and it was this testimony, com- 
bined with that of Robert T. Jackson, that led to an excellent 
detailed record of Richardson's life and work written by Jackson 
in the Transactions for 1904. 

The four large exhibitions of the year were successful, and the 
weekly ones were not: a result deplored by the Committee, inas- 


much as the former were preeminently the displays of past masters 
and professionals, and the latter of the small grower, amateur 
and specialist. At the spring show the arrangement was especially 
skilful. The main hall was filled principally with plants, the 
cyclamens — the display of which had never been equalled in the 
country — filling the foreground, backed by palms and M. H. 
Walsh's rambler roses, and flanked by the bulbous and foliage 
plants. The cut flowers, and some hardy forced plants and shrubs 
from the Bussey Institution, filled the Lecture Hall. At the rhodo- 
dendron show this hall and the loggia were filled , principally with 
the exhibits of Walter Hunnewell and Mrs. John L. Gardner. The 
backward season interfered somewhat with the success of the 
peony show on the eleventh of June, though there were some 
varieties never before shown here; but the prizes were held over 
until the rose and strawberry exhibition, and at that time the 
finest display of peonies ever made in America was shown. A most 
noteworthy exhibit was made by Dr. R. T. Jackson of Cambridge, 
who spoke of John Richardson in April at the lecture by G. C. 
Watson : nearly the entire collection of Richardson's peonies were 
on exhibition, some for the first time. The varieties were Dor- 
chester, Francis B. Hayes, Grandiflora, H. A. Hagen, Henry 
Woodward, Isaac Lea, John Richardson, Milton Hill, Norfolk, 
Paul Fischer, Richardson's Perfection, R. P. Whitfield, Rubra 
Superba, Samuel Henshaw, and Walter Faxon; and these, with 
the varieties George B. Sowerby, Charles Sedgwick Minot and 
Ferdinand Stoliczka shown on the eleventh of June comprised 
the entire collection. The annual exhibition, though one of the 
best of its kind, showed a meagre display of gladioli, and no com- 
petition whatever, as had now been the case for several seasons, 
for the Hunnewell prize for coniferous trees. The chrysanthemum 
show in November was held in conjunction with that of the 
Chrysanthemum Society of America; but the visitors were some- 
what disappointing, and the sanguine expectations that it would 
be the best exhibition on record were not realized. But some 
flowers shown by William Duckham, gardener to Dr. William 
James, were the largest and best ever shown in Boston, and the 
Australian varieties from Charles Totty, of Madison, New Jer- 
sey — shown in October at the Royal Horticultural Society's 


show in London, and shipped here — were in excellent condition. 
The competition again seemed to be largely confined to the larger 
classes for blooms on long stems. The most important and valuable 
plant of the year was the Christmas lily, Lilium Phillipinense, 
shown on the sixth of August by the Farquhars. This was rein- 
troduced from the species by Veitch of London, which had 
practically disappeared, but differed somewhat from it, and was 
awarded the Society's gold medal. Five hundred and ninety-two 
awards were made, including twenty-three medals, thirty-two 
first class certificates of merit, thirteen cultural certificates, forty- 
four honorable mentions, sixty-three votes of thanks, and seven 
special prizes. The fruits of the year were below the average, 
but the apple crop had now become more nearly an annual one; 
the Baldwin was still the market leader, but to cover the season 
every orchard needed Astrachan, Williams, Gravenstein, Hub- 
bardston, Rhode Island Greening, and Roxbury Russet. In pears, 
the varieties for market had gradually reduced themselves to 
Bartlett, Bosc, Sheldon, Seckel, Dana's Hovey, Clairgeau and 
Anjou. For vegetables the weather conditions were nearly per- 
fect, and the annual exhibition exceeded both in quality and 
quantity any within the Committee's memory. Warren Heustis 
and Son, of Belmont, shared honors with Edwin L. Lewis, of 

The greenhouse branch of the Garden Committee's work 
continued to preponderate over the estates in 1904, seven of the 
former and but two of the latter, — Walter Hunnewell's in 
Wellesley which they had already often visited, and Mrs. John 
L. Gardner's in Brookline, now entered for the Hunnewell trien- 
nial premium. The last consisted of about thirty acres, and har- 
moniously illustrated various types of landscape gardening, the 
formal and the natural. The broad lawns were bordered by fine 
old trees and shrubbery, interspersed with rhododendrons, and 
there were open flower gardens, greenhouses for palms, orchids, 
fruits and tropical plants, and an Italian garden. N. B. White, at 
Norwood, had been experimenting for thirty years in grape 
hybridization, and the King Philip now seemed very promising. 
W. G. Winsor's dahlia garden in Brockton, though small, proved 
notable in a section largely devoted to the dahlia; Morton F. 


Plant's houses of chrysanthemums, carnations and roses at 
Groton, Connecticut, brought out as much admiration as the great 
Elizabethan stone house, which promised with its forty acres at 
the mouth of the river to be one of the finest estates in the 
country; and the estate at Maiden of Mrs C. C. Converse and 
Mrs. Lester Leland offered houses of palms and foliage plants 
and chrysanthemums. The Joseph H. White estate in Brookline 
was entered for the prizes for rose houses and palms and foliage 
plant houses. In the latter was a very fine ceriman. The H. A. 
Stevens Company's mushroom cellar at Islington was interesting; 
it occupied about twenty- four hundred feet between close-laid 
stone and brick walls in a barn, and the daily yield was between 
eight and ten pounds. Mr. Stevens submitted a description of his 
method of raising the mushrooms. 

In 1904 the children's herbariums and school garden movement 
changed and broadened considerably, and in July Henry L. Clapp 
resigned from the Committee, of which he had been Chairman 
for fourteen years. Whether there was any cause and effect rela- 
tion between these events, and if so which was which, it is im- 
possible to say; but attention was now directed to the children's 
home garden movement — a natural result of the school gardens, 
and much more definite in possibilities. Its value lay in the oppor- 
tunities for those children whose school could not provide a garden, 
and also for those who had had school garden work, and were 
the better prepared to cultivate gardens of their own. The require- 
ments for competition were a small, well-kept garden, prepared, 
planted and cared for by one child — who, however, might be 
directed by an older person; a letter describing the garden, its 
preparation, size, flowers and vegetables, care and crop; and a 
picture of it. The manner of expression and the appearance of 
the letter were to be considered in awarding the prizes. There 
were five entries for this class in 1904. The school garden work 
continued as before, but the requirement that only native and 
economic plants should be grown in them was removed, — be- 
cause, one suspects, the necessity was now past of fending off 
popular prejudice by giving the work a patriotic and utilitarian 
flavor. The third department of the branch in charge of the 
" Committee on School Gardens and Native Plants," — for thus 


it was called this year — was the children's herbariums ; and with 
these it was flooded at the November exhibition, — 2316 speci- 
mens, of which 181 5 received awards; 11 75 sheets of flowering 
plants — a late introduction — and hundreds of grasses, sedges, 
ferns, leaf sprays, mosses and lichens. Fourthly, native plants 
came under the Committee's care. The exhibition on the fourth 
and fifth of June was successful, and it was hoped that an in- 
creased appropriation " to meet the demands of the advance 
movement " could be had. Specimens of Triosteum perfoliatum 
L. from East Weymouth were shown, the first reported in the 

The long and interesting paper by R. T. Jackson on John 
Richardson and his peonies in the Transactions for the year drew 
the Society's attention once more to the use which could be made 
of this publication for presenting original papers on horticultural 
subjects besides those presented in the lectures ; and a card index 
was made of horticultural papers, addresses, memorials and other 
matters recorded in the volumes since 1829. Since coming into the 
new building the Library had progressed smoothly, and Mr. Rich 
was now giving especial attention to perfecting it in the matter of 
horticultural periodicals by completing broken sets and acquiring 
others not hitherto on the shelves. 

In 1903 it had become impracticable to appoint committees on 
memorials of those who died, and a necrologist was then ap- 
pointed. Thirty-five members died in 1904; and though we con- 
tinue to find the essential facts and dates of the lives of deceased 
members, we badly miss the sincere, sympathetic, kindly appre- 
ciations and characterizations which the former method made 
possible. Among those who died were William H. Halliday, a 
former committeeman and exhibitor; John C. Chaffin, the enthu- 
siastic grower of roses, who in 1868 had shown forty varieties of 
hardy perpetual roses, and at his death left the Society a thousand 
dollars, the income to go for prizes for hardy roses of unusual 
merit; the Honorable Elisha Slade Converse, whose chrysan- 
themums had never been equalled; and Edward Butler, the skil- 
ful gardener and plant grower. The names of Joseph H. Wood- 
ford and Jacob W. Manning were also on the list. Woodford was 
one of the most prominent and active members of the Society, 


a man of much executive force and ability, and frankness in 
criticism, to which, however, his experience entitled him. He was 
Chairman of the Committee of Arrangements for twelve years, 
had served as Chairman or member of the Committees on Plants, 
Flowers, Vegetables and Gardens, and had three times lectured 
before the Society. Jacob W. Manning was one of the oldest and 
best known horticulturists and nurserymen in the country. 
Though especially interested in evergreens, he was a pioneer in 
the introduction of many desirable fruits, and was among the first 
to propagate the Concord and the Diana grape. For fifty years 
he had been active in the Society's work, and a regular attendant 
at its meetings and discussions; and it is not surprising that his 
death left a gap which his comrades felt could not be filled. 

The inaugural meeting of 1905 took place on the fifth of 
January, and President Henry P. Walcott in his brief review of 
1904 was able to say that under the new Constitution the year 
had been safe, happy and prosperous. President-elect Arthur F. 
Estabrook was unable because of imperfect health to be in Boston 
at this season, and Vice-President Walter Hunnewell was intro- 
duced as presiding officer. The first discussion meeting was upon 
the subject of some recently introduced weeds, which emphasized 
the necessity of watching closely those imported from Europe; 
for over fifty per cent of the wild plants of the closely farmed 
districts of England had established themselves in New England, 
as against one per cent introduced there from here. This great 
disparity was due to the evolution of hardiness, vigor, and in- 
difference to surroundings there as a result of long competition 
with man in fence corners and hedgerows, and the lack of it in 
our weeds. The meeting on the twenty-eighth of January was the 
beginning of a new plan which succeeded admirably, a series of 
general discussions with subjects specified, and opened by spe- 
cialists or recognized authorities. It was on the subject of fruit, 
and was started by E. W. Wood, for twenty-five years a member 
of the Fruit Committee, with James H. Bowditch of the Com- 
mittee on Lectures presiding. Mr. Wood sketched the history of 
New England's apples and pears, and concluded that the Baldwin 
was the best of the former, that all were better in quality than 
those of other states — and that the influence of the Society was 


nowhere more manifest than in the changes in the varieties of 
fruits grown. He considered that there were too many varieties 
of pears, even though now there were hardly ten as against M. P. 
Wilder's 417 forty years ago, — when the best was the Vicar, 
which nobody now thought of growing. Mr. Wood spoke of the 
good policy in honest packing; but Joshua C. Stone believed that 
the man who packed his big apples at the bottom was too good for 
this world. Opinions ranged from ten miles to a hundred from 
Boston as to where the best apple land lay. The next week Pro- 
fessor John Craig of Cornell delivered a solid scientific lecture 
on orchards which excellently supplemented the foregoing. The 
next was a talk about dwarf fruit trees, the cultivation of which 
was common over half a century before among amateur horti- 
culturists, but was now being revived by small landowners and 
experimenters in varieties. The Russell lecture on bacteria as 
fertilizers, by Dr. George T. Moore, filled the lecture hall to 
overflowing because it was as applicable to agriculture in general 
as to horticulture. At the end of February, J. W. Manning opened 
another discussion with a paper on flowers and their seasons, in 
which he reviewed the flowering trees, shrubs and herbs com- 
monly used in ornamental planting, in order to select a continuance 
of blooming effect from early spring to the frosts of fall. He gave 
a list of the twelve best of each; and though there were three 
thousand varieties of plants catalogued by nurserymen, J. H. 
Bowditch observed that everybody present now knew just what 
to grow ! A. Herrington's lecture on some aspects of hardy flower 
culture was a kind of declaration of independence: a garden, he 
said, should not be a thing of formal design, because formality 
limited one to the use of a few forms and types, and " floral pov- 
erty and meagre beauty " resulted. He advocated getting near 
to nature, with flowers on the hillside, in the valley, in open sun- 
light or shade, in grass or in woodland. A great gulf was fixed 
between planting for beautiful effects and for collective interest 
or botanical study, and the prevalent monotony of flower gardens 
seemed inexcusable. The " Return to Nature " was also Miss 
Maud Summers' subject in the next lecture, — a movement which 
she attributed somewhat to Thoreau's writings. External repres- 
sion was the old ideal, she thought, and internal expression the 


new. From this point she deftly turned the subject to the new 
methods and ideals in education; and skilfully committing her 
hearers to sympathy with her purpose before she reached it, 
she declared that no phase of the return to nature was fraught 
with deeper meaning than the introduction of nature study into 
our public schools. It had passed in its evolution through the 
various stages of the window boxes, school gardens, vacant lots 
for agriculture, and at last reached the idea of the school farm. It 
was still merely stuck on the curriculum; but she hoped it would 
become an integral part of school training, and solicited active, 
constructive work from the Society, such as the maintenance of 
a model farm school. The series ended with a general discussion 
of vegetables, opened by the Honorable Warren W. Rawson of 
Arlington, the Chairman of the Vegetable Committee. More 
vegetable growing was done near Boston, he said, than in any 
other part of the country, and nearly two hundred acres were 
covered with glass in Massachusetts; and he believed that the 
sales amounted to more than those of fruits, flowers and plants 
combined. There were over 2500 market gardeners in the state. 
But Mr. Rawson found lively opposition to two statements, one 
the age-old conviction that the climate of eastern Massachusetts 
had changed, and the other that electric light helped the growth 
of vegetables. Varnum Frost ridiculed the latter idea as against 
common sense, and Benjamin P. Ware challenged that about the 
change of climate. The tabulated statistics of the Weather Bureau 
showed a practical uniformity in the seasons ; but it is somewhat 
odd that so few seem to have noticed from the various committees' 
reports that the weather sometimes favored one crop and some- 
times another, and that equilibrium was on the whole preserved. 
Mr. Rawson finally observed that if others did not approve of his 
methods they were at liberty to use their own. 

Exhibitors from New York, Philadelphia and Chicago were 
evidence in 1904 that the Society's awards were held in high 
esteem, and in 1905 a large increase in paying visitors indicated 
the growth of public interest. The new system of entry-cards, filed 
three days ahead, enabled the skilful Robert Cameron, Superin- 
tendent of the Harvard Botanic Garden, to lay out the exhibits 
better than ever before. The year was uneventful for flowers, and 


it seemed that people were rebelling against the grower's idea of 
what a good chrysanthemum plant should be, and wanting it 
grown more naturally. The most important improvements in roses 
were in the rambler, hybrid tea and Rugosa hybrid classes. In 
March the Dutch bulbs, formerly so attractive, were giving way 
to orchids, cyclamens, cinerarias, roses and plants for Easter 
decoration; and sweet peas now were claiming a special exhibi- 
tion. Peonies and dahlias, the old favorites, had through their 
inherent beauty recovered their position. There were some new 
seedling carnations shown in February, and in March W. P. 
Winsor made a remarkable display of forty plants, in twenty-five 
species and varieties of dendrobiums. The American Rose Society's 
exhibits greatly helped the spring show, and the forced rambler 
roses had never been equalled. At the very successful rhododen- 
dron show in June, T. D. Hatfield, gardener to Walter Hunnewell, 
was awarded a silver medal for superior cultivation as evidenced 
by a magnificent plant of a hybrid rhododendron, variety lucidum, 
ten feet high and nearly as broad. In June the rising interest in 
peonies was testified to by many beautiful new varieties, some 
never shown at the Hall before ; and in July, when the magnificent 
delphiniums were appearing at the Hall, Jackson Dawson showed 
his rambler type seedling rose Daybreak, of a beautiful blush 
pink. At the annual show coniferous trees were shown well, per- 
haps in response to the Committee's appeal the year before. There 
were several new dahlias, and Robert Cameron showed his skil- 
fully arranged greenhouse plants from the Botanic Garden. R. 
Vincent, Jr., and Son, of White Marsh, Maryland, brought a com- 
prehensive exhibit of hardy chrysanthemums, mostly of the 
Pompon class, in November, and in December Oakes Ames 
showed two new hybrid orchids. The sum of $3399 was dis- 
tributed in money; and thirteen medals, twenty-nine first class 
certificates, nine cultural certificates, forty-eight honorable men- 
tions, seventeen votes of thanks and six special prizes were 

The weather conditions of 1905 were ideal for all fruits but 
strawberries, blackberries and raspberries; the only fly in the 
ointment was the insect pest. Any superiority in the apple im- 
ported from other states — and Mr. Wood in his lecture in Janu- 


ary would acknowledge none — the Committee thought due to 
lack of care by Massachusetts orchardists in pruning, trimming 
and spraying. A large field seemed to be open in dwarf apple and 
pear trees, which took one-tenth of the usual space, and produced 
fruit in two or three years from planting instead of eight or ten. 
Bosc pears were now preferred to the Bartlett for the market, 
though the old varieties, not suitable for shipping, were still the 
table favorites. The abundant peaches appeared too soon to be 
troubled by competition from Georgia; the Japanese plums, free 
from the black knot, seemed to be displacing the European va- 
rieties ; and the long, warm fall ripened the grapes early, — Con- 
cord, Niagara, Green Mountain, Worden, Moore's Early, and 
Delaware were most commonly grown. Strawberries had to com- 
pete with New York and New Jersey, and growers were urged to 
put them up in better form. So few new varieties of fruits had 
lately been shown that it was suggested that the agricultural 
colleges, which had opportunities to develop them, should be asked 
to send specimens to the exhibitions, — a significant example of 
the change in division of labor since the days of Wilder and Hovey. 
At the overcrowded annual exhibition the display of grapes was 
magnificent; and Jackson Dawson provided one very striking 
feature which brought him the silver medal and the Committee's 
thanks: a collection of foreign and native species of Malus, Pyrus 
and Vitis fruits showing the evolution of our apples, pears and 
grapes from their primitive, wild state to a condition of worth and 
economic value. The sum of $966 was spent, and one silver medal 
granted. The results of the year in vegetables were such a raising 
of standards and renewal of interest that W. W. Rawson felt 
himself in a position to begin a kind of driv^ A or a better recogni- 
tion of the comparative value of the department. We have seen 
in his lecture the arguments by which he was successful at the end 
of the year in obtaining an increase in appropriation of three hun- 
dred dollars over the nine hundred granted for 1905. 

The Garden Committee had received the suggestion of holding 
another demonstration of the methods of fighting the two moth 
enemies; but in May the Boston Park Department invited them 
to one in the Forest Hills Parkway, and this they reported, as 
well as another by the Society for the Promotion of Agriculture 


in an infested area of dense woodland near the Middlesex Fells. 
Six of their visits were to gardens of herbaceous plants or vege- 
tables, two to tree plantations, and two to greenhouses. Dr. Charles 
S. Minot's peony garden in Milton, the evergreen hedges grown 
as windbreaks and shelters at the Cherry Hill Nurseries, the 
Richardson seedling peonies at R. T. Jackson's garden in Cam- 
bridge, and Robert Roulston's garden in Roxbury, which showed 
the capabilities of a city yard, indicate the scope of their work. 
Morton F. Plant's estate at Groton, Connecticut, was now entered 
for the Hunnewell triennial premium, and for the Society's prizes 
for the best herbaceous plant and vegetable gardens and chrys- 
anthemum houses. The special prizes for the best kept estates of 
from one to three acres in Massachusetts brought out no competi- 
tion this year. 

The year 1905 marked the real starting-point of the children's 
home garden movement. The herbariums and native flowers, 
though instructive, were really botanical work, and had dissipated 
energy which could be better utilized in the direct encouragement 
of gardening among children. The goal now proposed was a 
garden for every Massachusetts school and a home garden for 
every child! The school garden competition had been stimulated 
by four articles published in the Boston Transcript, and the 
Chairman visited nearly all of the twelve entries. The lesson his 
visits taught was the one which Miss Summers had preached in 
her lecture, that reasonable success demanded the leadership of 
an experienced garden director or teacher; and in December a 
conference in connection with the herbarium exhibition was held 
at the Hall to discuss phases of the work and to announce awards 
for both school and home gardens. In 1904, when for the first 
time prizes were offered for home gardens, there had been but five 
entries; this year ten were offered, and two hundred entries were 
made, principally from about Ayer and Reading. As many as 
possible were visited ; but in view of the necessary limiting of the 
herbarium exhibition, and an unexplained diminution of the 
native plant exhibits, a definite line of work was now clearly sug- 
gested, which might include two children's exhibitions, like those 
of the Worcester County Horticultural Society. The sum spent 
in 1905 awards, out of a $225 appropriation, was $149.57. The 


Committee now hoped for an increase, asked the cooperation of the 
members, and changed its name to the Committee on Children's 
Gardens. It is worth noting that at the annual meeting of the 
State Board of Agriculture, at Lowell, on the twenty-fifth of July, 
leaflets were issued on the subject of school gardening, the plant- 
ing and care of them, the crops for them, and their results. The 
changes in the character of the Committee's work coincided with 
those suggested by Professor Sargent in a revision of the schedule 
of prizes and exhibitions for 1907, which he, as chairman of his 
committee, presented at a meeting on the twenty-first of Novem- 
ber, 1905. 

The policy and the progress of the Library were unchanged, 
and the steady appreciation of it was evidenced by gifts from 
N. T. Kidder, the Honorable Aaron Low, Miss Caroline L. W. 
French, and an anonymous friend. The halls still yielded little, this 
year only about $1248; the exhibitions cleared $1142.12, and but 
$1918.24 came from Mount Auburn. There were now 873 mem- 
bers. Thirty-five members died during the year, many of them 
committeemen and familiar figures at the exhibitions for years 
past: Walter Russell; John Parker; Warren Fenno — who had 
been made a trustee at the last election; Michael Sullivan, a trustee 
in 1904; and Joshua C. Stone, a member of the Vegetable Com- 
mittee since 1899, who was deeply mourned by his collaborators. 

Almost the first action of the Board of Trustees at their meeting 
on January the sixth, 1906, was to register their approval of an 
appropriation by the State of twenty-five thousand dollars to em- 
ploy the Honorable Ellwood Cooper, of Santa Barbara, to provide 
a permanent remedy for the gypsy and the browntail moths by 
introducing parasites or other natural means of destroying them. 
The advisability of obtaining Mr. Cooper's services came up at 
the first discussion meeting a week later, when it was suggested 
that the expenses could be met by private subscription, — ex- 
President N. T. Kidder having already offered to be one of five 
to contribute five thousand dollars each. At this meeting L. 0. 
Howard gave a clear exposition of nature's method under normal 
conditions of keeping injurious insects in check, and of the neces- 
sity of man's assistance when, as through the constantly increas- 
ing rapidity of traffic between countries, they had been introduced 


without their natural enemies and had multiplied enormously. 
The idea dated back probably to 1854, when experiments began; 
but the most triumphant demonstration was the practical destruc- 
tion of the fluted scale in California by the Australian insect 
ladybird; and Mr. Howard himself in the summer of 1905 had 
gone to Europe and started the importation of parasites of the 
two moths. There were about fifty for each kind recorded by 
European entomologists! The whole work was obviously for the 
state, which gave demonstrations; but the Society never failed to 
keep an anxious eye upon it and to be ready to offer any possible 

The lecture by Loring Underwood on Garden Accessories: 
Their Possibilities in Country and City Gardens, is interesting 
as a light upon the development of taste. It concerned the use and 
abuse of fountains, pools, pergolas, arbors, trellises, bowers, ter- 
races, walls, balustrades, summer or garden houses, benches, urns, 
tables and figures. But the " general discussion " had proved 
itself very popular in 1905, and now there were five of them — 
on the best New England fruits, vegetable growing, hardy flowers, 
tender flowers, and small fruits. From their nature it is impossible 
to do more than note a few of the more interesting facts. J. H. 
Bowditch called attention to the work of Luther Burbank in 
California; and E. W. Wood declared the Marshall to be the best 
strawberry. W. W. Rawson of Arlington reported further success 
with the arc light in growing lettuce under glass, and he was now 
experimenting with electricity directly applied to the soil. After 
eight years of experiment he had found the sterilization of the soil 
thoroughly successful; but Mrs. E. M. Gill proved that there was 
nothing new under the sun by telling of a woman forty years ago 
who before potting her plants put the earth in her oven. The only 
adverse criticism on these general discussions was that their titles 
covered too much ground; sometimes a detail consumed too much 
of the time, to the disappointment of those not specially interested 
in it. A regular lecture was given on the tenth of February by 
Professor W. M. Munson, of the University of Maine, on worn- 
out farms and their possibilities, — a question which had pre- 
sented itself directly after the Civil War period, when young men's 
views had become broadened by contact with one another, and 


greater business opportunities became visible to the restless sons 
of the New England farmers. The development of the west also 
was a large factor in the abandonment of the eastern farm; but 
the term " worn-out " was a misnomer, and the lecturer believed 
that fruit growing and market gardening offered great possibili- 
ties. We may note that only a year later George T. Powell was 
able to say that abandoned farms were rapidly becoming things 
of the past, — though this fact was somewhat due to the city 
people who wanted summer places. As a whole, the lectures and 
discussions had never been more valuable than during this year. 
Six thousand, seven hundred dollars was the sum appropriated 
for the exhibitions of 1906, which were unusually interesting be- 
cause in January the American Carnation Society met with the 
Horticultural Society, in March the Rose Society, and in June 
the Peony Society. The show of roses in March was probably the 
most magnificent ever shown in any country. They were mostly 
of the tea and hybrid tea varieties. Only a few years ago the Bride, 
Bridesmaid, American Beauty and Liberty were practically all 
the varieties obtainable; but now there were also the Kaiserin 
Augusta Victoria, Mrs. Pierpont Morgan, Souvenir du President 
Carnot, Mrs. Oliver Ames, Wellesley, Killarney and Richmond. 
The last was the most notable exhibit of the year, and marked a 
great advance in crimson roses. Mr. Farquhar believed that the 
unprecedented development in roses, as well as carnations, was 
due almost entirely to the efforts of American florists to obtain 
better market flowers; and here may be mentioned the revision 
which, under the chairmanship of Professor Sargent, a committee 
had presented in 1905 of the schedule of prizes for 1907; and 
which because too sweeping in its reforms for the committees to 
approve, 2 had not been favorably received, though many of its sug- 
gestions were accepted. Mr. Rich had in his report as Secretary 
in 1905 well expressed the Society's duty and pleasure in " extend- 
ing the hand of fellowship to amateur, professional and com- 
mercial interests "; and Mr. Eliot and Mr. Manning believed that 
certain provisions of the new schedule would have the effect of 
eliminating the commercial grower. To understand this and sub- 

2 One of them was that the committees on plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables 
should be discontinued, and a Committee on Exhibitions and Awards appointed. 


sequent developments we shall have to examine the vote as it was 
offered and in general approved by the Committee on Prizes and 
Exhibitions. In effect, the Trustees thought it was for the best 
interests of horticulture in Massachusetts to have prizes that 
would give the exhibition the most variety and interest; to en- 
courage the production and cultivation of new plants, fruits and 
vegetables, and call attention to neglected but desirable ones; 
to develop a taste for flowers among persons who could cultivate 
their gardens only by their own labor, without the aid of paid 
gardeners; and, in order to produce these results, to try the ex- 
periment of increasing the number of medals, plate and certificates 
of merit, of increasing the amount of money prizes when money 
was offered, and of diminishing the number of small money prizes 
which, while they might have the effect of filling the Hall with 
exhibits, did little to promote horticulture. 3 The wise purposes of 
these changes seem evident enough ; yet it is not difficult to under- 
stand their disturbing effects on the committees when they were 
introduced. On the fifth of May appeared over forty varieties of 
narcissi from the Langwater Gardens. The rhododendron show 
was described as " fairly good as a whole "; but the peony show, 
at which the American Peony Society also exhibited, was un- 
paralleled in its beauty, and moreover threw most of the credit 
on local growers. William Miller won at the same exhibition a 
silver medal for the finest display of eremuri ever shown at the 
Hall. Dahlias made their first appearance at the sweet pea show 
on the twenty-first of July; the principal advance among the 
varieties shown through the favorable season was evidently along 
the lines of earliness. On the first of September the Committee 
saw at the Bay State Nurseries Stokesia cyanea, the first white 
variety of this plant on record. The annual exhibition was rich in 
outdoor flowers and plants, and the dahlias nearly filled the lec- 
ture hall; but the decorative plants relied for a fair showing 
almost entirely on Mrs. John L. Gardner, the Harvard Botanic 
Garden, A. F. Estabrook and R. and J. Farquhar and Company. 
H. A. Dreer as usual showed interesting aquatics. The chrys- 
anthemum show gave in 1906 the first hint of a change in char- 
acter. The dropping out of competitors in the classes for large 

3 For four years expenses had greatly exceeded income. 


trained plants compelled the introduction of other features, and 
the exhibition tended thereafter to become a great fall floral 
festival. Some prizes had been transferred to it from the annual 
show; and as the September show no longer attracted either ex- 
hibitor or public as much as it formerly had, the two were merged 
as much as possible, and with decided success. But in the classes 
for chrysanthemums the quality had never been surpassed: 
beautiful single-flowered ones filled a table the length of the hall. 
For the first time decorated dinner-tables were introduced; they 
were competed for by the retail florists of Boston, and judged by 
a committee of ladies of the Society, as all matters involving taste 
must ever be. $3557 was awarded for plants and flowers. The 
fruits exhibitions of 1906 gave food for thought in two matters. 
Massachusetts had never been considered a good peach state; 
but Chairman Wilfrid Wheeler visited some orchards, and con- 
cluded that the central and western parts particularly had a 
bright future, with their hills of rocky, clay soil, for the fruit could 
be left on the trees until ripe. It was doubtful whether any state 
could have shown better peaches than those at the annual exhibi- 
tion from David L. Fiske. The following January A. A. Hixon 
took up the subject in the discussions, and gave added testimony 
to an awakening in peach culture in Massachusetts which was 
favored by the proximity of the market as compared with her 
competitors, New York and Connecticut. The other matter was 
an exhibit of apples from North Carolina of such large, well- 
colored specimens that the local growers, accustomed to believe 
that northern apples were the best, realized that they had much 
to learn if their belief was to continue. The Maine apples, some 
of the best ever seen, alone staved off defeat. In general, the small 
fruits were well shown, the plums were three-quarters ruined by 
cold weather in March, and the grapes were not abundant. The 
Massachusetts Agricultural College sent many new varieties of 
plums, grapes and peaches, and some pears and apples grown on 
dwarf trees. The state colleges of Maryland and Rhode Island, 
and the North Carolina Board of Agriculture also sent exhibits 
which showed a wide range and many varieties, and gave op- 
portunity for comparisons. Boston was always the best in pears. 
This year the fruit and vegetable exhibition was again held sepa- 


rate from the flower show. $1041 was awarded in money for 
fruits, and three medals were given. Few new varieties were 
offered in vegetables, but the old were never better shown, 
especially in October and November. The Committee was in no 
mood to particularize about the exhibitions, however, for some of 
the changes suggested in Professor Sargent's prize schedule were 
now at hand, which involved a reduction of their appropriation; 
and they frankly claimed that their department was badly treated. 
A reduction in the number of prizes by the Garden Committee 
had already been announced ; and as a result or by a coincidence 
only four visits were made. The first was Redgate, Charles W. 
Parker's estate at Marblehead Neck, which as a bit of landscape 
gardening was one of the most notable. A rough hillside twenty 
years before, it now abounded in trees, and had orchards, vege- 
table gardens, an artificial pond with pink and white water lilies, 
and a miniature Japanese garden. Dr. C. S. Minot's peony garden 
was as excellent as last year; and Morton F. Plant's estate at 
Groton, Connecticut, in its second year of competition for the 
Hunnewell prize, was progressing so finely as to leave little doubt 
of success. The prize was taken this year by Mrs. John L. 
Gardner's Brookline estate. School gardening was now on a firmer 
basis than ever before; modern educators approved of it as one 
of the best forms of industrial education. In April a school garden 
institute was held under the general direction of F. A. Waugh, 
of the Agricultural College, the idea of which was to make simple 
suggestions for the practical operations involved. The great need, 
of course, was experienced teachers — the real difficulty of every 
new educational venture. There was an increase of eleven school 
garden entries in 1906, and competition had to be divided for the 
time between the new and those previously entered. School 
grounds also were made a part of the qualifications ; but nothing 
was allowed to interfere with the playgrounds. Such a flood of 
entries — two hundred and fifty-nine — poured into the chil- 
dren's home garden competition that it was all but impossible to 
handle them; and in 1907 the awards were given to organizations, 
each of which managed and financed the work in its own neigh- 
borhood, and distributed the prizes as the local inspectors recom- 
mended. Thus the matter of personal encouragement, without 


which the work could not have progressed, was assured. The 
hoped-for children's exhibitions were also held, one in July and 
one in September ; and the latter especially was so splendidly suc- 
cessful that the Committee was almost overwhelmed by the mere 
task of awarding prizes. The Lecture Hall was filled with exhibits 
and packed with several hundred boys and girls; some of the 
products shown were quite as fine as any seen at the regular ex- 
hibitions, and the enthusiasm certainly was greater. For all these 
results only the sum of a hundred and forty-seven dollars was 
spent, and the old herbarium exhibits seemed very successfully 

For some years the Library had been in the happy condition of 
having no history. But there is no doubt that it was now the 
Society's most valuable asset. The national societies of England, 
France and Germany could hardly claim better ones; and indeed 
in the value of the books, their comprehensiveness, and their ex- 
cellent arrangement and condition, it probably still surpassed all 
horticultural libraries in the world. In 1906 the work of rear- 
rangement of the books was completed. The plan was that adopted 
by most special libraries, and was based on the collecting of the 
books into classes, and giving an arbitrary symbol — a number 
or a letter — to each class, with subdivisions as necessary. The 
books had formerly stood on numbered shelves, with the number 
inside the cover of the book and on the catalogue card; yet so 
excellently had Endicott and Manning classified them on the old 
method that no radical changes were necessary. Special attention 
was given during the year to the exchange of publications with 
other societies and institutions, and to the completing of the sets 
of periodicals. 

Membership fell off in 1906 from 873 to 852; but the income 
from the halls increased materially to over $4965, the exhibitions 
cleared over $966, and Mount Auburn yielded over $3378. Of 
the losses by death, those which perhaps came home most closely 
to the Society were Benjamin Pond Ware, of Salem, and Elijah 
W. Wood of West Newton. Mr. Ware had been a vice-president 
from 1896 to 1903, and was prominent in the Society's councils, 
discussions and lectures. He was widely and deeply interested in 
agriculture also; and we have seen that, though eighty-four years 


of age when he died, he was an earnest advocate of the new 
scientific methods and mechanical improvements in horticulture, 
and yet represented in his genial presence, common sense and 
dignified personality all of the Society's best traditions. E. W. 
Wood, also an octogenarian, had a striking record of service on 
five different committees: two years on that of the Library; 
twenty-nine on the Fruit Committee, of which he was chairman 
for twenty-four; twenty-five on the Committee of Arrangements; 
twenty-two on the Committee for Establishing Prizes; and eight 
on the Committee on Lectures and Publications. He delivered 
eight formal lectures, and submitted reports from the Fruit Com- 
mittee so careful and detailed that they may be regarded as real 
contributions to pomological history. It was he who most zealously 
proclaimed the possibilities of New England orcharding and 
urged the renovation of the old orchards; and in him the Society 
lost another of its most intelligent workers and devoted members. 








Chapter XIX • 1907-1909. ADJUSTMENTS 

AT THE election on the seventeenth of November, 1906, 
Stephen M. Weld won over Warren W. Rawson by a vote 
k of 136 to sixty-six; and on the fifth of January, 1907, 
he was introduced by Vice-President Walter Hunnewell. In his 
inaugural address General Weld struck directly at the root of the 
differences of opinion which, though not dividing the Society, had 
hampered its best efforts, by reminding his hearers that the 
Society should be considered an educational institution, and that 
the lectures and exhibitions were now the principal methods of 
carrying on its work. He was quick to acknowledge that the 
general interest was as great as ever, and that therefore the 
foundations were solid; and he advocated that new branches 
should be taken up as fast as means permitted, especially the 
work against insect pests. But these things could not be done 
without money; and for the last four years the average expenses 
had been $22,042.32 as against an average income of $19,372.05. 
Obviously it was necessary to cut down expenses, to increase the 
income, or to do both. As to increasing the income, the acoustics 
of the Lecture Hall — about which the Committee had complained 
— might be improved, and the halls let more extensively; the 
membership might be increased; and people might be induced 
to leave funds to the Society by will. He aptly illustrated the last 
point by announcing a legacy of three thousand dollars from 
Charles E. French to be known as the Benjamin V. French Fund 
Number Two, and five thousand to be known as the John Allen 
French Fund, the income of the first for prizes for fruit and 
vegetables, and that of the latter for certain specimens of flora. 
As to decreasing expenses, the only possibility seemed to be to 
reduce the number and amount of cash prizes and substitute 
certificates of merit or medals — the practice of the most suc- 
cessful horticultural societies abroad. 


After the first lecture in January on the iris and its culture, by 
J. W. Manning, Adin A. Hixon, who had an experimental orchard 
of two hundred kinds of peaches, lectured on the possibilities of 
peach growing, which as we have seen was strongly interesting 
New England farmers. Loyal as his predecessors to New England 
fruits, he believed we could grow peaches as well as New Jersey 
and Delaware could, and gave a careful exposition of the soil, 
the location, and the man essential for success. Next John E. 
Lager, of Summit, New Jersey, described orchid collecting, and 
the hardships he underwent after plunging into the wilds and ex- 
ploring the country until he struck his Eldorado, a virgin cattleya 
district. He considered the most important fields Colombia, 
Venezuela and Brazil, and described the vivid and marvellous 
plants he saw on his Colombia trip ; but so much had lately been 
done that the natives had begun exportation without knowing how 
to do the work, the plants were ruined by careless handling, and 
more harm resulted in one year than a collector would cause in 
ten. G. T. Powell's lecture on the Renovation of an Old Orchard 
reminds us once more of the " drive " to reclaim abandoned lands, 
and testifies to the Society's large share in awakening and re- 
sponding to the interest in it. John W. Duncan next spoke on the 
home vegetable garden, and descanted convincingly on the fresh- 
ness and quality of its products as compared with even the choicest 
from the market dealers. Varnum Frost was present, and once 
more explained that observation and personal experience could 
do it: books could not. Miss Anne Withington's talk upon certain 
uses of the school garden was an earnest and clever effort to ex- 
plain a departure in educational methods and objects to an audi- 
ence which, though involved in it through the school garden work, 
could not be supposed to be especially interested in theoretical 
education. Formerly learning consisted only of book-learning, be- 
cause pupils were being trained also in the home, the field and the 
workshop; but now the latter training had vanished. The crop 
wanted was a human, not a vegetable one ; something was wanted 
to awaken the latent faculties, to fit the child for citizenship, and 
to make him do and think for himself. The school garden did not 
expect to effect an exodus to the country, but it did point out the 
opportunity that existed, and might even be supposed to stimulate 


a movement into the suburban districts. Robert Cameron shrewdly- 
added that good results would come from showing the children 
that money could be got out of the soil, but Mrs. Wing surely 
came nearer to the mark in saying that the kindly interest in 
child life was the valuable thing in the movement. On February 
the twenty-third Professor F. W. Rane, State Forester, discussed 
another of the matters of present interest, forestry from a com- 
mercial standpoint. His diagnosis of Massachusetts had shown 
him that she was suffering from a case of " lumber osis and box- 
boarditis," due to unintelligent commercialism. He showed how- 
ever that the patient was not beyond recovery; that reforestation 
could profitably utilize the three million acres of waste land in the 
state; and that the result would conserve the moisture, enrich 
the soil, and bring beauty and an equable climate. The great 
trouble with forestry for the individual was, as ever, that it was 
a long-time investment, and an uncertain one because of the fire 
danger; and in this connection the speaker and Theodore Borst 
in the following discussion agreed that the state had not done its 
duty. John A. Pettigrew next spoke on the planting of streets and 
waysides, pointing out its commercial and sanitary value, and 
citing Tremont Street, Huntington Avenue, and Columbus Avenue 
as splendid opportunities for Boston. He held up Worcester as a 
shining example of what could be done; but with O. B. Hadwen 
as a member of the Worcester Park Commission, the Society did 
not have to hang its head. N. T. Kidder pointed out that for the 
sake of the trees the only proper place for electric wires was 
underground. The Russell lecture, Some Bacterial Diseases of 
Plants: their Nature and Treatment, by Professor H. H. Whetzel 
of Cornell, came next, and described the nature and mode of life 
of the tiny plants, the history of our knowledge of bacterial dis- 
eases, fire blight of the fruits, the wilt of the vegetables, and the 
control of the diseases in general. It was doubtless a relief to the 
audience, after hearing of the astonishingly small size and powers 
of multiplication of bacteria, to hear that by far the great ma- 
jority are harmless or directly beneficial and necessary to life 
and civilization, a matter which the lecturer explained with strik- 
ing clearness. The last talk of the year was by John K. M. L. 
Farquhar, who had already deeply interested his associates with 


reports of his horticultural visits to foreign lands, and now pre- 
sented, by the